The Twig Of ‘93

Trained professional: “We are going around the leaf.” Ant in procession: “Around the leaf? I don’t think we can do that.” Trained professional: “Oh, nonsense, this is nothing compared to the twig of ’93.”

 Are you familiar with this classic lesson from one of life’s greatest teachers, Pixar?  It came out of the first 2 minutes and 44 seconds of “A Bug’s Life”, and it speaks volumes about today’s society.  Much like the ants that are walking in procession, only to have one suddenly interrupted by a leaf falling in its direct path, many people today are often paralyzed by seemingly small challenges in their day.

 I believe the point of the Pixar writers, and definitely the one I am trying to make here, is that leaves fall all the time, unplanned, untimely; yet to get on with our lives, looking at the leaf won’t move us forward.  We need a mentality that focuses on getting past that leaf – around it, over it, under it, or even through it. Unfortunately, most people are problem spotters, rather problem solvers. 

 Over the years my wife and I have drilled this concept into our kids. When a challenge arises, we simple say, “Go around the leaf.”  Or another mantra from a very wise friend of ours, “problems are meant to be solved, not lived with” – love that perspective and attitude!

 What stops you in your tracks?  What small blips completely derail your masterful plan for the day? Did you get a flat tire?  Did the prospect cancel?  Did that huge order fall through?  Did you oversleep this morning?  Did you twist your ankle playing basketball?  A few clicks with Google and you’ll find remarkable examples of people who not only overcame major challenges, but learned to thrive in the solutions.  And honestly, in most of my cases, the challenges are truly leaves – little blips along my path.

 Bottom line: You can choose to be a problem spotter or problem solver.