Monday, December 21, 2009

Don't let the lights keep you out of the tree!

Well I had to share a little lesson I was reminded of today.  Today was a beautiful sunny Sunday.  It is December so the temperature is in the high 50's - absolutely perfect.  As I have mentioned before when I sit at my desk in my home office there is a giant Oak tree right outside the window.  I believe that it was planted in the late 50's or early 60's when this subdivision was built which would make it at least 50 years old.  Needless to say it is huge with a massive trunk. 

It must be a fun tree to play in because the squirrels are always running up and down and playing on the branches (it probably helps that I keep a feeder for them hanging from one of the branches) but anyway today I witnessed something interesting that made me start thinking about human behavior. 

Since it is the holiday season and I love to decorate the house with lights I also decorate the trunk of the oak tree.  I put sheets of lights about 3 foot tall on the base of the tree and they go around 3/4 of the trunk.  So if you can imagine there is a strip on the back of the tree(about 2 feet wide) that has no lights (since it doesn't face the street).  Today my little squirrel friends (3 to be exact) wanted to play on the tree.  But every time they would jump up on the tree, they would feel the strings of lights and jump off.  All 3 of them kept jumping up on the tree and then jumping off.  It was actually quite comical.  This went on for quite a while and then I noticed that every once in a while one of them would actually jump on the side of the tree that did not have lights but instead of taking off running up the tree to get to the branches, like they always do, he would immediately jump off again.  It was as if he had jumped on the strings of lights so many times that he couldn't believe there was any part of the tree that didn't have lights.  His jumping persistence could have actually paid off when he hit the right side but he was blinded by his belief that there were lights there.

James Riley once said “The most essential factor is persistence - the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come.”  Oh how those squirrels must have been discouraged.  They did eventually just give up and accept the fact that they couldn't get up the tree.  I hope that you don't let the lights keep you out the tree!  Persistence always pays in the long run if we are not blinded by our belief of what the current truth is - which may not be the truth at all.

And don't forget the old Japanese proverb that says "Money grows on the tree of persistence!"  Just thought that one was quite appropriate for the story!

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