The Secret to Getting Ahead Can Be Found in The Animal Kingdom

Devin Arrigo

Run to eat — not to avoid becoming something or someone
Photo by LOGAN WEAVER on Unsplash

I recently stumbled on a video of a lion hunting down a gazelle in the hot summer heat. As the lion silently stalked its pretty through the tall grass, the narrator set the scene by describing both animals' advantages. The lion was quick, clever, strong, and agile. Conversely, the gazelle was fast and had the endurance to outlast the lion if he managed to stave off the initial attack. Both animals had their unique advantages.

However, the lion’s mindset is what separated him from the gazelle.

The gazelle was running away from something.

His goal was not to get eaten.

He was trying to avoid becoming the lion’s lunch. The gazelle was running from the lion, and as soon as the lion stopped, the gazelle stopped too.

The gazelle’s motivation was tied directly to the lion. If the lion wasn’t hungry for lunch anymore, the gazelle wouldn’t be out running. Rather than being motivated internally for a goal, the gazelle's motivation was determined by something outside of himself.

On the other hand…

The lion was running toward something.

His goal was to secure lunch for that day.

He was running to eat. And he didn’t plan on stopping until he either got his meal or couldn’t run any longer. He was willing to go to absolute exhaustion to get what he wanted. To achieve his goal.

The lion wasn’t running because someone else was chasing him. He was hungry and needed to eat. And he loved the process of working towards his goal. As motivation speaker and best-selling author Eric Thomas once put it, “Real lions like to hunt. They love the process just as much as they love the prize.”

When it comes to your goals, be the lion.

Don’t be the gazelle.

As long as the lion is chasing the gazelle, the gazelle is motivated.

But as soon as the lion stops, so does the gazelle. The same goes for a lot of people working towards their goals. As long as someone else is pushing, poking, prodding, enticing, or rewarding you — you’re moving and motivated. You’re working hard and enjoying the process.

But as soon as that stops, you stop, just like the gazelle. The motivation to run toward your goal has to be internal. You have to find something inside yourself. Relying on someone or something else to keep you moving forward is a recipe for failure.

Set a goal for something you want to achieve, and then work toward it. It could be to run a marathon, complete a triathlon, or to be able to walk the stairs without getting winded. Regardless of the goal, if you don’t set one, you won’t ever achieve what you truly desire.

Final Thoughts

As Tony Robbins once said, “Energy flows where attention goes.”

If your motivation is simply to avoid becoming someone or something — like the gazelle— your attention is misdirected at not becoming that thing. And in turn, your energy will push you towards that thing.

Instead, be like the lion. Set a goal and work towards it. Don’t rely on someone or something for motivation. Dig deep, look inward, and then work every day to make your dream a reality.

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Marathon runner | Triathlete | Personal growth addict | Writing about creative ways to become a better human being.

Los Angeles, CA

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