Saturday, 4 April 2009

Why every chicken must break out of its own shell

“Some matters pass off more quietly than anyone could expect,” wrote Titus Livius two thousand years ago, “but times of trouble allow to tell apart discerning men. You will see them reflecting on the cause of their problems, rather than on the problems themselves.”

These days, when catastrophe and disgrace fill pages of newspapers, we can all use some perspective to shield us from discouragement. Tidal changes have taken place in all ages. Instability and shifting paradigms will befall humanity again and again.

  • People have felt trapped in countries and occupations while their world fell apart.
  • Established markets have disappeared overnight.
  • Systems that were supposed to last forever have revealed themselves as too frail to be trusted.

Egg-shells look deceivingly fragile.
The truth is that breaking out presents almost insurmountable problems for chicken. Baby chicken don't even know that they are inside a shell, since their eyes are still closed.

What makes the situation of infant birds even more critical, if that they have very limited time to accomplish their feat. The little oxygen that gets through the shell won't keep them alive for long. At a certain moment, almost by magic, baby chicken begin to move and break out of the egg.

Experiments have shown that the time needed for hatching varies with each individual bird. Try as you may, if you break the egg-shell yourself in order to help the bird get out, chances are that you will kill it. Do it too soon and the chicken will die. Waiting too long is also a sign of trouble. If the baby bird is unable to hatch on its own efforts, it means that nature has already decided otherwise.

Then why on earth do chicken break out of the shell? The simplicity of the answer will not make it less shocking. Birds hatch for one reason only: because, at a certain point in their development, it becomes too uncomfortable to remain inside the egg. It gets too constrained, too warm, too sticky, too hard to breathe inside the shell.

Invisible shells are the hardest to break. Inevitably, each of us carries around a few. Unlike those of chicken, our shells are not made of calcium, but of fear and indecision. We exaggerate problems and underestimate our resiliency. We cling to continuity even when we know that the old bridge ahead of the road has already collapsed.

If your conclusions don't match reality, re-examine your premises. If History has turned your most precious dreams to dust, maybe they were not meant to be realized.

Every chicken must break out of its own shell. Life will be always fraught with distress and difficulties. Don't you ever let them bring you down. Look at the world with a fresh spirit, choose your path, and move on. As Titus Livius put it so well,“urgent measures are meant to be applied with great dispatch.”

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by JOE M500 under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

Why every chicken must break out of its own shell

“Some matters pass off more quietly than anyone could expect,” wrote Titus Livius two thousand years ago, “but times of trouble allow to tell apart discerning men. You will see them reflecting on the cause of their problems, rather than on the problems themselves.”

These days, when catastrophe and disgrace fill pages of newspapers, we can all use some perspective to shield us from discouragement. Tidal changes have taken place in all ages. Instability and shifting paradigms will befall humanity again and again.

  • People have felt trapped in countries and occupations while their world fell apart.
  • Established markets have disappeared overnight.
  • Systems that were supposed to last forever have revealed themselves as too frail to be trusted.

Egg-shells look deceivingly fragile.
The truth is that breaking out presents almost insurmountable problems for chicken. Baby chicken don't even know that they are inside a shell, since their eyes are still closed.

What makes the situation of infant birds even more critical, if that they have very limited time to accomplish their feat. The little oxygen that gets through the shell won't keep them alive for long. At a certain moment, almost by magic, baby chicken begin to move and break out of the egg.

Experiments have shown that the time needed for hatching varies with each individual bird. Try as you may, if you break the egg-shell yourself in order to help the bird get out, chances are that you will kill it. Do it too soon and the chicken will die. Waiting too long is also a sign of trouble. If the baby bird is unable to hatch on its own efforts, it means that nature has already decided otherwise.

Then why on earth do chicken break out of the shell? The simplicity of the answer will not make it less shocking. Birds hatch for one reason only: because, at a certain point in their development, it becomes too uncomfortable to remain inside the egg. It gets too constrained, too warm, too sticky, too hard to breathe inside the shell.

Invisible shells are the hardest to break. Inevitably, each of us carries around a few. Unlike those of chicken, our shells are not made of calcium, but of fear and indecision. We exaggerate problems and underestimate our resiliency. We cling to continuity even when we know that the old bridge ahead of the road has already collapsed.

If your conclusions don't match reality, re-examine your premises. If History has turned your most precious dreams to dust, maybe they were not meant to be realized.

Every chicken must break out of its own shell. Life will be always fraught with distress and difficulties. Don't you ever let them bring you down. Look at the world with a fresh spirit, choose your path, and move on. As Titus Livius put it so well,“urgent measures are meant to be applied with great dispatch.”

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by JOE M500 under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]

How Aristotle's fundamental maxim can radically improve your life

“In life, it is often difficult,” wrote Aristotle in the year 328 B.C. “to decide what to choose and what to endure when alternatives are painful and success uncertain.” Whether you are in business for yourself, gainfully employed, or preparing for a better future, a day will rarely go by without your having to make decisions about people.

These are some choices that most human beings have to make in their lives:
  • Whether you will hire a person to work for you.
  • If a certain investment advisor is the right person to entrust your savings to.
  • Proposing marriage or not.
  • On whom you can rely in a critical situation.
I have made my share of mistakes with people, but luckily enough, I have also learned from them. Did I err differently on each occasion? Hardly. With the embarrassment of a slow learner, I must confess that, fundamentally, I have made every time the same mistake.

What was the reason for my repeated slips? In every case through all these years, without being able to recall a single exception, I have simply failed to read the writing on the wall. I have determinedly, doggedly, blinded myself to evidence once and again. I have ignored obvious danger signals and told myself that everything was going to be all right.

Fooling ourselves about pretended virtues of people we deal with is such a common phenomenon that makes one wonder if a remedy exists for such sickness. The good news is that there is a cure. The bad news is that the medicine is free and, for that reason, it took me so long to take it seriously.

“The essence of things doesn't change,” is Aristotle's fundamental maxim. I should have spent more time reading Aristotle, an hour a day for instance. I guess that, sooner or later, I would have understood that the essence of a person doesn't change either, or to be fair, I should rather say that the essence of a person very rarely changes.

How does Aristotle's principle translate into practical advice? These are a few examples:
  • Who lies to you once, is likely to do that again in the future.
  • Aggressive people might calm down for a while, but their true character will soon return.
  • There is not such a thing as occasional dishonesty. A tainted soul seldom becomes white again.
  • Rudeness and abuse show the meagre virtue of those who practice them.
  • Moral cowardice often signals worse things to come in the future.
Do not fall into the trap of allowing wishful thinking to override your direct perception of reality. “It is absurd for an individual to doubt his sensing of external things,” observed Aristotle, “yet man is easily caught by illusions.”

When you experience someone's lies, rudeness, aggressiveness, or moral cowardice, make an indelible note in your mind never to trust that person ever again. Of course, from time to time, you will forget and suffer some negative consequences. Take heart, if you learn your lesson by the second or third mistake, you'd be already light-years ahead of most people.

[Text: http://johnvespasian.blogspot.com]

[Image by Per Ola Wiberg (Powi) under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]