COMMENTARY: Birds on a Wire: Actions are More Important Than Intentions

Five birds are sitting on a telephone wire. Two of them decide to fly South. How many are left? Three, you say? No, it’s five. You see, deciding to fly South is not the same as doing it.

If a bird really wants to go somewhere, it’s got to point itself in the right direction, jump off the wire and flap its wings.

Good intentions are not enough. It action that really matters.

Our character is defined and our lives are determined not by what we want, say or think, but by what we do. I frequently think of writing thank-you notes, birthday wishes and letters of praise. Unfortunately, only a sad few of these good sentiments ever make it to paper. Still, if I don’t look too closely, I can delude myself into thinking that based on my good thoughts, I’m a gracious and grateful person. A truer picture of my character is drawn by my actions.

The challenge for me is to make the time to do the things I ought to do and say the things I want to say. There are lots of occasions to do this at home and at work. And one doesn’t have to get sappy or insincere. Just look for opportunities to say something nice to family members, friends or coworkers. Once you get the hang of it, expand your arena of action and call or write a former teacher, a columnist or a public servant you admire.

The old Quaker saying puts it eloquently: “I expect to pass through the world but once. Any good therefore I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again.”

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.



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