We all have that one story which our parents told us when we were adolescents while arming us to face the competitive world. The following was the story my father told me when I was ready to step out of the protective shell he had created around me and into the real world.
It is a story of transformation and the determination to live. While this story is inspiring and may offer us a way to reflect on our own life journey, the story is just that, a story.
However, it has always motivated me, and I hope it inspires you as well.
Live like an Eagle- The Story
Eagles are considered as a symbol of strength, bravery and courage.
An Eagle generally lives up to 35 to 40 years. In its late 30’s, it’s long and flexible talons (claws) can no longer grab prey, which serves as food. It’s long and sharp beak becomes bent. It’s old aged and heavy wings, due to their thick feathers get stuck to its chest and make it difficult to fly.
The Eagle then is left with only two decisions: to die or to transform itself so that it can live longer.
Determined to live, the Eagle undergoes molting, and to be safe from predators, they choose a secure valley to start this process.
There the Eagle knocks its beak against a mountain top until it plucks it out. After plucking it out the Eagle waits for a new beak to grow back. It then plucks out its talons. When it’s new talons grow back, the Eagle starts plucking out its old-aged feathers and waits for new and strong feathers to grow.
Through this agonizing process that goes on for 5 months, the Eagle rejuvenates its being and takes its vigorous flight of rebirth and lives for 30 more years.
What did this story teach me?
The determination and firmness of the purpose motivates the Eagle to undergo the painful process as it clearly knows that it will be rewarded with a new life at the end.
To succeed in life, we have to be determined and focused on what we want to achieve. Determination is being firm on the goal we want to achieve. A determined person knows exactly where he or she is on the road to success, knows where he or she wants to go and has developed a strategy of how and when to reach his or her goal.
‘The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man's determination.’ - Tommy Lasorda
The Eagle never loses the will to live longer even though it is old and weak. It believes that it has the potential to struggle and live a longer life. It goes against the normal belief and fights for new life.
From time to time, changes make us re-evaluate our life and look at certain things from a different perspective. Depending on what the change is, it may also reinforce our life’s values.
‘If we can change the way we think, we can change the way we live.’ – Unknown
Being old and weak does not hamper the Eagle’s determination to live longer. Instead the Eagle gets rid of the things that make it weak.
Similarly, we need to shed off old habits and old memories which burden us without adding to our lives. Only freed from past burdens, can we take advantage of the present.
‘Opportunity often comes disguised in the form of misfortune, or temporary defeat’ – Napolean Hill
Many eagles die during molting, due to the pain. They cannot hunt during this period and are largely dependent on other eagles for food. They are also not strong enough to protect themselves from predators. But it believes that taking this risk is worth it if it can live for 30 more years.
Even we need to take some risks to discover our potential and gain success. No wonder financial advisors keep saying ‘Higher the risk higher the return.’
‘Take risks in your life. If you win, you can lead. If you lose you can guide.’ – Swami Vivekananda
The process of molting is not easy for the Eagle. It is full of struggle and pain. But the eagles that survive this gruesome transformation, emerge stronger, fitter and sharper than before.
Greatness isn’t handed to anyone; it requires a lot of hard work. The best people in any field are those who devote the most hours to their crafts. There is simply no substitute for hard work when it comes to achieving success.
‘Luck is predictable. The harder you work, the luckier you get’ – Brian Tracy
Like the Eagle, we will also have to make some hard decisions in our life. But just keep in mind that it’s WE who drive our lives and not the other way round!!