To Kill a Hummingbird…

Posted by on May 4, 2011 in Challenge Yourself | 1 comment

Wings reach 200 beats/second in a courtship dive. So feed me the good stuff.

No, this is not a HOW TO post about killing off hummingbirds. However, I read that hummingbirds can be accidentally killed off by bird lovers who lack common sense or the willingness to read the fine print on the recipe for making nectar for their hummingbird feeders.

Here is something that wannabe hummingbird friends need to know so they don’t inadvertently kill the thing that they desire to attract:

Don’t use artificial sweeteners. I guess some people substitute white sugar for artificial, no-calorie sweeteners. Have there been sightings of flocks of obese hummingbirds who are too fat to fly? Is that why some people want to put these little creatures on a carb-restricted diet? Artificial sweeteners have no nutritional value. In other words, a hummingbird can drink this mixture but obtains no fuel from it. This leads the hummingbird to starve to death.

So that’s how you kill a hummingbird. You trick it into thinking that it’s getting something good and life-sustaining. But sadly, what the bird is eating will kill it.

It's hard to get lost when you run in circles, but the scenery never changes.

We do this to ourselves, too, when we confuse busy with meaningful, active with productive.

Let’s say you want to get into better shape so you say, “Going to the gym will help.” To go to the gym, you need gym clothes. And sweat. A lot of sweat. So you rush to buy a gym membership, and then you rush to the store to buy gym clothes. You speed to the gym, shut off your car, and roll up the windows. Since it’s hot outside, you sweat. After an hour, you’re drenched.

Have you gotten into shape? Or have you been busy creating sham results that are meaningless to your ultimate goal? You have surrounded yourself with the trappings of getting into good shape by purchasing a gym membership, buying the right clothes and shoes, driving to the place where results can occur, and sweating like a pig. But you haven’t actually done anything to create a good shape. You’ve created fatigue without results.

Don’t confuse busy with meaningful.

This weekend I went to my daughter’s track meet. There’s a big different between running four laps around a quarter-mile track and running a mile down the road. The laps take you over the same ground four times, and you end up exactly where you started. On the other hand, the road takes you a full mile from your starting point, and each step takes you into new territory.

Have you covered a linear mile and seen new sights? Or have you covered the same ground over and over again? If you are trying to progress through life, you can’t stay on an oval track; you need to hit the open road and create actual distance during your journey.

Don’t confuse active with productive.

You want to be a good employee or you try to play the role of the loving, supportive spouse. Maybe you want to be a superhuman parent or the world’s best friend. So you remain busy and active around the stuff that should make those things happen.

But is what you’re doing creating meaningful, productive results? You may be like the hummingbird, sucking artificially sweetened nectar. It’s just a matter of time before you drop dead, not from lack of effort but from lack of meaningful effort, effort that gets you closer to your goals and desires.

Look at what you’re doing today, and look at what it’s getting you. If your activity fuels you, getting you closer to your goal, you must have real sugar in your nectar. Keep going. You’re on the right path.

But if your activity exhausts you, and you keep flapping your wings but cover no ground, you might be slowly starving to death. Reevaluate before your heart becomes cold and your wings, still.

One Comment

  1. Like I told my staff yesterday, don’t confuse effort with results. Our schools reward effort and that makes everybody happy. Unfortunately that has not prepared many for the cruel, results-oriented world in which we live.

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