Earlier today I was trolling Facebook for inspiration. I know, I know, there are probably MANY better places than Facebook to find inspiration but there I was…you just never know right? While cat videos and recipe demonstrations don’t tend to make inspire, a recent video of an emu and ostrich reacting to a “weasel ball” (pet toy) caught my attention. The weasel ball looks like a stuffed animal that’s attached to a battery-powered ball. A mechanism inside the ball moves about which, in turn, moves the entire ball and stuffed animal in a “lifelike” kind of way. It’s a house-cat’s dream…and apparently, a large birds’ nightmare. The emu and ostrich in the video were absolutely freaked out by said toy and made all kinds of evasive, defensive, and otherwise ridiculous maneuvers in response to it’s rolling about. Admittedly, I can understand the birds’ alarmed feelings. As large and fierce as emu and ostrich are, they have to be constantly aware of possible predators or other dangers. In addition, their brain to body ratio is admittedly, ahem…small.
As I thought about the ostrich and emu response, however, I felt a bit of a kindred spirit with these silly birds. How many times do we encounter situations (perceived threats or actual conflicts), that just turns us into ridiculous versions of ourselves? The birds showed many of the same behaviors that I notice in humans when we find something “new” in our own worlds. Often, people are both curious about/drawn to the something and, at the same time, wary, threatened, and defensive about that same thing. Rather than patiently approach the new thing with curiosity and determination to understand, we are prone to behaviors that do little to help us grow or get enjoyment out of the situation. Rather, we tend to back away, ignore, or resist the new “challenges” in order to maintain a sense of internal safety. Why is that?? Why do we do these things to ourselves?
In thinking more about the ostrich and the emu, I find we have more in common than overblown responses to perceived threats. Like the proverbial ostrich, we can bury our heads in the sand and ignore things. Similarly, we can get aggressive, like an ostrich evading off a lion and fight back. What does it take, however, to slow our pea-brains down and have a more thoughtful response? What might our rewards be for seeing new, curious things as opportunities rather than threats?
Learning Through Difference, LLC helps teams build skills to do just this kind of re-framing with your workplace “weasel balls.” If you’re tired of dancing around the problems, spending unnecessary energy avoiding or fighting against “threats,” give us a call!