You probably already know the Cheetah and the Gazelle story, the African proverb which says something like this:
Every morning in Africa, a Gazelle wakes up,
It knows it must run faster than the fastest Cheetah or it will be killed.
Every morning a Cheetah wakes up,
It knows it must outrun the slowest Gazelle or it will starve to death.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a Cheetah or a Gazelle,
When the sun comes up, you better start running.
Now, this proverb is definitely wrong and I’m going to tell you why, and also the missing part about why the Lion is the Real King of the Jungle and the Cheetah or the Gazelle will never be. This is not an article on those wonderful wild animals, it’s an article on human nature and human behavior.
The Cheetah and the Gazelle story: run for your life.
This old African proverb gets repeated over and over again, so much that it has now become pretty common and it’s usually said in almost every business course and it’s a kind of a way of living. Pretty much rat’s race lifestyle, so to speak. You must run and never stop because that’s the way to live and achieve, that’s the way to live life at its fullest and enjoy everything life has to offer. Run to gain and achieve.
Well, there are usually just two categories of people who swear for this way of living to be the only one to live by and the only one to give results. Those who run all the day because that’s how they are made and those who exploits Cheetahs and Gazelles. If those around you only consider successful someone who never stops running and working and amassing things and such then obviously they see it as the only worthy way to live life. Wake up at six in the morning, work all day till ten o’ clock, go to bed and then start it all again the next day. And please forget about Sundays and holidays. So to speak they are the Cheetahs, or the Gazelles, and they see their way of living as the right one and the only one so they tell you to follow their path and join their group.
Then there are the Cheetahs handlers, those who benefit in a way or another from your running all the time. Your boss who the more you earn from your job the more he earns from your efforts, the state which earns from your taxes, all those who provide you with services that you wouldn’t need if you had a bit of free time, restaurants, ready to eat food providers, all those who sell you a service which you need because you have to run all the day and you have no time for anything else. Blood suckers so to say.
What they usually forget to tell you is that Cheetahs and Gazelles are not able to run all day. They can run very fast but only on the short distance and after that they become exhausted and have to stop. Usually when this happens to the Gazelle and the Cheetah still have a bit of energy the Gazelle ends up being a lunch. If you run too long either you become exhausted or you die, from a stroke usually. Because no one is made to run all day and actually if you look at it those who tell you to run like crazy all day are comfortably seated on a quality chair; yet they tell you to run. Sometimes telling you that’s the only way to get a chair like that.
Cheetahs and Gazelles as wild animals do what’s in their nature but in the real world, where there is no handler to benefit from both animals, they run as little as they can because they know that pushing for too long they get exhausted. Do you run because that’s your nature or do you run because there is a handler behind you pushing you to the limit every day? For his own benefit?
Whatever it is running all day long will never get you near the Lion.
Why the Lion is the Real King of the Jungle.
The Lion knows its priorities in life and lives life as it should be lived. The Lion cooperates with friends so that efforts are shared and become less heavy to stand. When going to hunt instead of being on its own like the Cheetahs Lions group together and they never get home with an empty stomach; Lions always succeed because they cooperate and their life isn’t centered on just running, it’s centered on focused efforts, family and social life.
Lions know how life really has to be lived and have a fair good understanding of life’s priorities: family, friends, resting time, stretching under the Sun, sleeping, playing with young Lions and teaching them how to survive in the Jungle and so on. They know what’s really important to live a life worth living. When it’s time to go hunting they go completely and totally focused chasing preys until they catch one. Then they go back to enjoying life. And thanks to their different attitude to life even if slower and heavier than Cheetahs they are able to catch Gazelles too. And without running at 100 mph. And probably without getting a stroke.
While Cheetas too after having caught their prey rest until hunger hits them again if they don’t catch anything after some times they usually starve to death because they don’t have any residual energy. Lions instead usually don’t have to run because working in groups they approach Gazelles swiftly and hit when it’s the right time to hit and if they miss their target it’s not a problem as someone else will catch it. Lions never die of starvation. Thanks to family and cooperation with their group. They live without running and they seem pretty much happy. Surely happier than both Cheetas and Gazelles,
I don’t know what you think but the Lion seems to me pretty much wiser than the Cheetah. And this is why the Lion is the King of the Jungle and the Cheetah will never be and why the African proverb is, well, wrong. But this is just my opinion.
What is yours? Are you a Cheetah or a Lion?
Pictures courtesy of SXC.