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  • James McNeil

Lessons From Wildlife

In 2017, Bishop TD Jakes sat down with Steven Furtick of Elevation Church in North Carolina. They talked about the view Jakes held about entrepreneurship, what it means to truly know yourself and what you bring to the table, and many other things. In the interview, Jakes told a quick parable.


In this parable, he mentions an elephant. What drew his attention about the elephant was its size. It was so huge and so heavy that it was obvious taking on an elephant would be difficult for anyone. In the parable Jakes mentioned the elephant’s size was its “defense.”

From here he brings up a lion. The lion does not have the size advantage of the elephant. But when the lion roars, everyone takes notice. A lion can petrify prey and fellow predator alike with his roar. Just as the lion does not have the elephant’s size advantage, the cheetah does not have the lion’s roar. But the cheetah has amazing speed. For prey to outrun a cheetah is incredibly rare because of its speed advantage. The eagle cannot run like a cheetah, but it can take to the skies and soar above its enemies and its prey.

After seeing all of these animals with their “defense” particularly suited to them, Jakes begins to ask questions. He points out that he can’t fly like an eagle, run like a cheetah, roar like a lion or utilize a size advantage like an elephant. He then asks, “What did you give me?” The answer was a brain. Yes, all those animals have a brain, but none of them use it like we do. We do not have any of their attributes, but we are not defenseless.

Just as we don’t have to be like the elephant, the lion, the cheetah, or the eagle, we do not have to be like each other. There are skills you have that I do not have. There are skills I have that you do not have. There is literally nothing wrong with this. None of us have to be able to figure it all out.

If you were to judge the elephant based on how fast it could run, the elephant might walk away feeling like a failure. If you were to judge an eagle based on how loudly it roared, you could make it miss the defense it has. Just like them, if you were to allow others to judge you (or even worse judged yourself) based on skills you do not have, you could easily feel like a failure or a fraud.

That mindset can (and often does) lead to suicidal thoughts and ideations. If you are dealing with these, Finding Your Personal Mission is for you. You can pick up your own copy today by going to Amazon or Audible.

In the meantime, know this. You are not a failure. You are human. You have skills that are uniquely you, and until you bring them to the table with the confidence that you are positioned to use them and make a difference, we all miss out on you.

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