COMMENTARY 982.4: Five Birds and Good Intentions

Five birds are sitting on a telephone wire. Two decide to fly south. How many are left? Most people would say three. Actually, all five are left. You see, deciding to fly isn’t 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, flap its wings, and keep flapping until it gets there.

So it is with most things. Good intentions aren’t enough. It’s not what we want, say, or think that makes things happen; it’s what we do.

I frequently think of writing thank-you, birthday, and congratulatory notes. 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 and less admirable picture of my character is drawn by my actions.

In the end, we either do or don’t do. We either make the time to do the things we want to and should do or we make excuses. As Alfred Adler said, “Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.”

What do you want to do? Do you want to take a course, change your job, lose weight, make new friends, or spend more time with and appreciate more the ones you have?

What’s stopping you from jumping off the wire and flapping your wings?

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

Comments 6

  1. For several years now I have finished my 6 week parenting classes with this wonderful story you sent my way. It has proved to be valuable, as we can talk all we want about making change, but until we get off the wire, neither we nor our children can change. Thank you

  2. Exhaustion – from a host of medical issues – is what “keeps me from doing” lots of things. Isn’t it always more complex?

  3. What Will Matter

    COMMENTARY 930.4: Five Birds and Good Intentions

    http://media.blubrry.com/whatwillmatter/p/whatwillmatter.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/CC-041913-FiveBirdsandGoodIntentions.mp3

    Five birds are sitting on a telephone wire. Two decide to fly south. How many are left? Most people would say three. Actually, all five are left. You see, deciding to fly isn’t 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, flap its wings, and keep flapping until it gets there.

    So it is with most things. Good intentions aren’t enough. It’s not what we want, say, or think that makes things happen; it’s what we do.

    I frequently think of writing thank-you, birthday, and congratulatory notes. 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 and less admirable picture of my character is drawn by my actions.

    In the end, we either do or don’t do. We either make the time to do the things we want to and should do or we make excuses. As Alfred Adler said, “Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.”

    What do you want to do? Do you want to take a course, change your job, lose weight, make new friends, or spend more time with and appreciate more the ones you have?

    What’s stopping you from jumping off the wire and flapping your wings?

    This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

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