Humans and pigeons

Humans are a lot like pigeons. Yes, pigeons. As I was walking to the bus stop this morning, I noticed a line of pigeons sitting on an overhead electric wire, enjoying the warm morning sun. They looked quite content sitting on their perch and watching the world below them slowly wake up and start the day.

Nearing the flock, I saw one of them make a dive for the street in front of the group. There was some kind of food down on the street, and it looked like he had been the one chosen to go see if it was safe to eat—a king’s taster, so to speak. Maybe he was the cat bait. If he landed and a cat sprung out of the bushes, all of the rest of the pigeons would still be safe and sound. Of course, if no cat showed up, the first mover would get to eat the most (and best) food that was there. Not too long after the first pigeon landed, one more pigeon followed. The rest of the group, however, stayed up on the wire.

This might be the first life lesson you’ve ever heard using pigeons as the metaphor, but here goes: You have a choice. You can be the first pigeon to jump off the wire, the one who takes the most risk and ends up with the most reward, or you can be one of the flock, who sits there where it’s safe, taking your chances that there will be something left when the others are done.

Most people are like the pigeons on the wire. They are happy to sit on the sideline contentedly and let someone else go after the first bite. In their minds, it’s better to be safe and know there aren’t any cats lurking around before taking the plunge. They would rather be safe (and hungry) than risk uncertainty and the benefits that might (or might not) come with it. You are lucky because you get to choose which type of person you are.

Be bold. Jump off the wire.

The bold, and the not so bold