Once upon a time there was a little dog who wanted to have a big impact in the world. He was a fast dog with quick wits, and he knew what it took to succeed in life. And though he was very proud of his papa for the way he always rounded up the sheep, this little dog had his sights set even higher.
See, every day the little dog looked up into the sky and saw an amazing eagle soaring above. He noticed how the eagle could go anywhere it wanted, it could dive and swoop as fast as a bullet, and was the pure expression of freedom.
Every day the little dog watched and studied the eagle because he wanted to become an eagle. The little dog already knew how to be courageous, fast, and fearless, just like the eagle. But in order to really live like an eagle, the little dog knew he should learn some new lessons and skills.
So each and every day, the little dog tried to teach himself a new lesson. Here are the lessons he knew he should diligently work on so he could become an eagle:
Lesson 1: "I should grow wings with feathers so that I can fly high in the sky."
Lesson 2: "I should sharpen my vision so I can spot my prey from far away."
Lesson 3: "I should be perfectly patient until the right prey is vulnerable to attack."
Lesson 4: "I should sharpen my nails and teeth so I can hold onto my prey."
Lesson 5: "I should live on top of rocks and alone so I can prove my independence."
After practicing for months and months all alone in the wilderness, the little dog become extremely discouraged. Even though he had become much more patient and independent, he still became depressed and was losing his love for life.
Every time the little dog noticed he had no wings, he got sad.
When the little dog saw that his vision wasn't improving, he got sadder.
And when his nails and teeth didn't get sharper, he became even sadder.
Eventually, the little dog returned home with his tail between his legs. He went to his papa, and the little dog just cried and cried because no matter how hard he tried, he could never become the eagle he felt he should be.
What the little dog didn't know was that his papa was one of the wisest dogs in the world!
After the little dog had cried all his tears until he had no more, his papa knew it was the right time to share what he knew about the secret to living and loving life:
"Son, I know you had big dreams of being an eagle. Eagles are beautiful, wonderful creatures with amazing qualities we all can admire. You were even able to become more patient and independent like the eagles.
However, what you have come to realize is that no matter how hard you try, you are not an eagle ... you are a dog. Telling yourself how you "should" be only results in pain and frustration because you lose sight of your true self ... you forget about the amazing, beautiful, admirable qualities you already have!
You have become the best dog you can be, and I am proud of you for going after your dreams with all of your heart. I see how courageous, fast, fearless, patient, and independent you are, and I know many other animals – including dogs and eagles – will look upon you with admiration and a desire to learn how to be more like you.
Remember that you were brought into this world with a special set of unique talents and strengths, and you will find your passion and purpose in this life. Just like a bird can never become a dog, a dog can never become a bird ... so next time you find yourself wishing you could be a different kind of animal, just remind yourself to "stop bird-dogging" and then reflect upon the amazing gifts you already have!"
After that, the little dog looked up with new hope in his eyes and slowly trotted out into the field ... no longer was he looking at the sky wishing he were an eagle, but rather, he looked directly at the eagle with gratitude for the new qualities he learned that would help him become a more fully-realized and present dog.
He became a dog that truly loves his life.
-- Chris Cade