Be Like a Duck :)
Be Like a Duck :)
"Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath." -- actor Michael Caine
A friend of mine mentioned the duck analogy not
long ago in an e-mail. What can we learn from the example of the duck
that can be applied to our daily lives?
First, the example of the duck shows that appearances can be deceiving. The duck with their beautiful, unruffled feathers appears calm and serene as they glide with what seems to be very little effort along the surface of the water. Second, we learn that it does take an enormous amount of effort to achieve our dreams and goals even though that effort is most often hidden. Just like the duck whose busy paddling can only be seen if we look beneath the surface of the water.
These examples are so very true in our lives as well. We may look like we accomplish a goal easily and without much effort, when in fact, years of preparation and mental concentration are necessary to bring our goal into sight. Any performer, whether it be music, dance, or sports will tell you they need energy and focus to make what they do appear effortless as they accomplish their goals.
Throw some food into a crowd of ducks and you will see that they move very fast as they swim to the food. It does take energy, movement, and focus for us to go forward, just as a duck must paddle busily in order to move through the water. We need to know what we want and pursue it. Nothing worthwhile ever comes without effort. How can we achieve our dreams and goals by just floating along or giving up? Sometimes we need to paddle like we're in a kayak moving through the rapids of a raging, roaring river.
The smooth glide of the duck does not show the busy and sometimes frantic paddling going on underneath the water. Just like appearing calm on the outside may hide the butterflies trying to fly away in our stomach. Anyone who has ever done public speaking will agree that the speaker who appears calm is often anything but calm on the inside. As Jerry Seinfeld is quoted as saying "The average person at a funeral would rather be in the casket than doing the eulogy." "Stage Fright" or Public Speaking is believed to be the single most common fear affecting as much as 75% of the population. In a recent WebMD poll the fear of public speaking is ranked even above that of the fear of death.
It isn't always "be like a duck" for me. I am not always "calm on the surface". I am not a human being having a spiritual experience, I am a spiritual being having a human experience. There have been times when people very close to me were extremely critical of the life path that I have chosen. They said I was crazy for leaving my comfortable, stable government career, and I have to admit that I sometimes felt like and feared they may be right, yet I knew they spoke their truth not mine. I allowed their criticism to get to me and invade my inner sense of peace which caused some very busy paddling. I am still growing and gaining wisdom, however, and now I understand that it has been those very criticisms that have helped me to gain the firm conviction that I am doing exactly what I was put here on Earth to do. I know deeply in my heart that I am living my truth, though in fact it has taken years of preparation and concentration to bring this truth to light and into sight.
Perhaps the most famous quote on fear of all time came from Franklin D. Roosevelt in his First Inaugural Address as President of the United States; "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Some of us will never do the thing we fear. Fear can paralyze us and then nothing is accomplished. If we continue "paddling like the dickens" and work toward our goals even though we are frightened. We can and will be able to achieve our dreams and make them our reality and truth.
Let's all be like the duck, and not let fear get the best of us. Remain "calm on the surface" as we paddle like the dickens to find our very own truth in life. You will know you have found your truth when it brings some of your greatest joy, peace, and happiness...