Predator, Prey or Play?

Predator, Prey or Play

They say
It’s a dog eat dog world out there
Characterized by the aggressive predator and vulnerable prey

But are predators always aggressive? … or are they sometimes simply hungry
Is prey really that passive? …  often they put up a successful fight back
Both predator and prey use cunning and clever tactics to get what they want

So is it really a dog eat dog world?
for us?

How does it feel to approach life in this way…. what images flash through your mind?

That it’s better to go into predator mode

  • Easier to attack first then to be attacked?
  • Yell, pound your chest, bark orders … don’t let them see  your vulnerability?
  • Better to provoke, ridicule, judge, criticize …

 Or jump into prey-mode, embracing the eternal victim

  • Run away, not even try
  • Live in fear & tremble
  • Be meek, small, insignificant
  • Keep your head down & hide

Rumi wrote about another way:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.  I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.

There are many interpretations of this poem, but I feel Rumi is referring to playfulness

Play eliminates the artificial divisions
The judgments, arbitrary divisions that we draw between us
And dichotomous roles we choose to play
Of predator and prey

Playfulness melts those boundaries away
Play helps create a new reality…

Stuart Brown, MD writes in his book ‘Play’, when we play there is diminished sense of self, an openness to improvisation, a desire to keep the process going and time seems to fly by.

It’s so easy to get caught in our rational minds telling us that that’s not how the world functions…
However, we are surrounded by examples that show us another way
We live in a world where


They met at that place  beyond prey and predator called play
Acting instead out of curiosity, inquisitiveness and joyful exuberance
And their adverse relationship was suddenly transformed…. to friendship

Next time you are caught up in a predator or prey reaction, pause, take a deep breath, relax & remember, there is another way

To read more about animal friendships see: Unlikely Friendships: Remarkable stories from the animal kingdom by Jennifer Holland

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Celebrating Successful Failures

So what did you fail at today?

As a child, Sara Blakely was asked this question every day by her father.

IDEO, a cutting edge global design firm motto is ‘Fail early and fail often’

Allowing failure is a key element in creating innovators is a key premise of Tony Wagner‘s latest book.  Tony writes about a Harvard Business Review article ‘The Innovator’s DNA’ and how 4 year olds are constantly asking questions and wondering how things work, but by the time they are 6 1/2 , the questioning stops since they have learned that teachers value right answers more than provocative questions. Creativity, the fuel of innovation is already being slowly extinguished…

Who’s Sara Blakely? She happens to be the youngest self-made female billionaire in US history! Her fortune made by creating Spanx shapewear!

And Sara’s father wasn’t taunting her, rather he was encouraging Sara and her siblings to ‘fail big’  since anything less meant they weren’t really trying, they weren’t stretching themselves enough out of their comfort zone…

But it’s not just about our encouraging our kids… it’s about all of us…

Learning to fail with dignity and celebrating it

instead of listening to the harsh inner voice that points out that its best not to risk being an idiot and try…

and avoiding the opportunity to fail

Not feeling quite ‘perfect enough’? Jeanette Maw’s recent post has a great strategy for dealing with personal idiosyncrasies – embracing them as perfect imperfections ‘ that’s what I love about myself’! that’s what I have that’s unique to offer!

Not convinced yet? many of our cultural icons failed early on in their careers! Oprah was considered ‘unfit for TV’; Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. See Danielle LaPorte’s recent post  for more….

As Joss Stone sings:

I’ve got a right to be wrong
I’ve been held down too long
I’ve got to break free
So I can finally breathe…
…Got to sing my own song
I might be singing out of key
But it sure feels good to me..

Postscript: additional quotes, info, etc.

The founding father of electricity, Thomas Edison famously said:

I have not failed…. I have just found 10,000 ways that do not work!

and Oprah Winfrey:

I don’t believe in failure. It’s not failure if you enjoyed the process.

Also for an excellent article and links focused on the importance of failure for success in business see: Why Failure Is So Important To Success

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You and the cake

You are like a cake

In other words, you should be yummy, fluffy, desirable, satisfying and delicious to yourself. It should be a delight to spend time with yourself!
Your spouse, partner, children, good friends, pets are the icing. They add a wonderfully rich, creamy delectable topping to your already scrumptious cake.
In other words, they make your already sweet life even sweeter.
Your spouse is not your cake – nor is your daughter, your son or your dog. A bottle of booze or a box of chocolates is not your cake either.
If you require the icing to act like the cake, don’t be surprised if  they don’t want to be around you much. That’s not the role they were meant to play.
Perhaps you don’t feel like cake anymore (or never have)
Instead, you feel like the plate that holds the cake, or the tablecloth or maybe even the trash receptacle under the kitchen counter.
Whatever you do, don’t blame the icing!! It’s definitely not their fault that you are not cake! It simply means you’ve lost touch with the perfection that you truly are and are living under a false sense of identity…
When in fact, you are cake, that is your birthright!
Any other configuration is skewed, off balance and ultimately detrimental.
There are many ways in which to reconnect with your cake self! Making time to do the things that you love and honoring yourself is #1 priority on the list. These don’t necessarily need to be big things or cost lots of money.  For me, many years ago this meant getting up  an hour earlier each morning and going for a bike ride. I love cycling and being outside watching the world ‘wake up’ around me. I sweetened this experience even more for myself by making a commitment to greet every single person I passed on the bike path with a cheery good morning! And within a week or so, it was coming back to me – the regulars recognized me and often greeted me first!  Or perhaps you need something else? a 10 minute midday nap, a walk to smell the roses, a spritz of perfume or after shave that you love even if you are not going anywhere special. Identify the feeling you long to feel: connected, special, rested, relaxed and then find a way to create that for yourself!
Still stumped? and unsure of how to enjoy your true ‘cake’ nature? A life coach can help you get back in touch with your inner sweetness!
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