Lesson of the Leopard’s Spots

The Nature of Identity

It is said, “You can’t change a leopard’s spots”, implying that the nature of the beast can’t be taken from it.

Man is unique in many ways. Besides having opposing thumbs, we are also the only creatures in all creation capable of denying our own nature; the very essence of us. Signs of this truth are well-studied.

  • Well-being? Declining …
  • Job Satisfaction? Declining …
  • Relationships? Breaking …
  • Meaning and Fulfillment? Missing …

  • Search Amazon for “Self Help” and 218,537 titles pop-up. With all that help, what’s the hub-bub? In truth, we have become disoriented, having lost touch with the source of our uniqueness, happiness, and most likely, our success. Much will be written on this topic in future blogs, but for now, let’s start with the basics; the nature of human nature.

    One of the best-intentioned lies we tell our children (and that our parents probably told us) is that they can grow up to be anything they want. Ever watch American Idol? What we have a desire to do must align with what we have the potential for. Genes and experience provide us with abilities as well as limitations. We can become many things, but not anything. My motto is, “ease and appetite”. Your strengths are those things that come easily and naturally to you. Your passions are those things for which you have an instinctive, recurring hunger.

    Living things thrive when they are with other living things. Two plants will grow better next to each other than they will farther apart. Hogs are happier when they are not alone. Two grass seeds if different types will produce more biomass than two seeds of a single type. People who have pets recover from injuries more quickly. People who are married live longer. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Said differently, the oldest form of punishment is isolation. We are built for relationships. Period. Strengthen or restore the good ones. Leave or ignore the bad ones. Don’t break any.

    Put your hand out the window as you drive down the road and steer it into the wind. Up, down, side to side. This is a metaphor for the way potential progresses. An opposing force improves steerage and elevates our abilities or exposes their limitations. Muscles and bones are strengthened by resistance work. The brain profits only when it is taxed. We cannot step into our potential unless there is a challenge to step up to. Potential cannot improve without being challenged. Looking at it from another extreme, the second oldest form of punishment (after isolation) is immobility. Standing perfectly still for long periods of time, is a form of torture. Simply put, we were built to be do-ers. When trying to find yourself, think about “thought” as the map, and “action” as the compass you use when treading about. Maps are necessary, but if you want to get somewhere, you just have to move.

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