“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” -Michelangelo
The below parable is from author, psychotherapist and Jesuit priest Anthony de Mello. I highly recommend his book, The Way To Love. This parable is from Song Of The Bird and I came upon it in James Clear’s weekly newsletter. I highly recommend signing up for that and reading his book, Atomic Habits. I’ve posted about it before. In my opinion, it’s the single greatest book ever written about habits.
Okay. Without further ado…
“A man found an eagle’s egg and put it in a nest of a barnyard hen. The eaglet hatched with the brood of chickens and grew up with them.
All his life the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken. He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He clucked and cackled. And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet into the air.
Years passed and the eagle grew very old. One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky. It glided in graceful majesty among the powerful wind currents, with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings.
The old eagle looked up in awe. “Who’s that?” he asked.
“That’s the eagle, the king of the birds,” said his neighbor. “He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth—we’re chickens.”
So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that’s what he thought he was.”
(I just returned from a family vacation in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Manitowish Waters. One day I was out on the lake standup paddleboarding. A bald eagle soared above me and then landed in the tall pine trees up ahead. A sight to behold. Talk about majestic!)