Virtue of the Week: Initiative

The Eagle and the Chicken

There’s an old fable that talks about a man who found an eagle’s egg and put it in a nest of a barnyard hen. The eagle hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them. All his life, the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken. He scratched the earth for worms and insects. He clucked and cackled. And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet in the air. Years passed and the eagle grew very old. One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky. It glided in graceful majesty among powerful wind currents, with scarcely a beat of its strong golden wings. The old eagle looked up in awe. ‘Who’s that?’ he asked. ‘That’s the eagle, the king of the birds,’ said his neighbor. ‘He belongs to the sky. We belong to the earth—we’re chickens.’ So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for that’s what he thought he was. ” Most people follow chickens, act like chickens and live out their life like chickens. But you can never attain the heights of success by having unsuccessful role models. You are not going to get to trading greatness by listening to and emulating those who want to keep you down at their level and hold you back from achieving the highest level of competence.

Videos about taking initiative:

Just Build the Bridge

A story which illustrates the definition of initiative is about General MacArthur who called in one of his Army engineers during World War 2 and asked: “How long will it take to build a bridge across this stream?”

“Three days,” the engineer told him.

“Good,” snapped General MacArthur. “Have your draftsmen make drawings right away.”

Three days later the General sent for the engineer and asked how the bridge was coming along.

“It’s all ready. You can send the troops across right now if you don’t have to wait for the drawings. The bridge is done, but the drawings are still on the draftsman’s table.”

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”Chinese Proverb