For centuries now, we’ve come to identify our national ethos with the image of the eagle. We’ve regarded the large bird of prey as a living symbol of freedom, power, bravery, grace, and determination. The symbolism is so ingrained into our culture that we often associate it with some of our proudest achievements. Think about it. The highest rank one can achieve in the Boy Scouts is Eagle Scout. When man first landed on the moon, what did Neil Armstrong say? “The Eagle has landed.”
But what truly emphasizes the uniqueness of this majestic animal is its characteristics. In fact, three traits of the eagle serve as great examples for us in life:
#1: Eagles Have Vision
If you’ve ever seen an eagle, it’s usually high above the tree tops or gliding over mountain peaks. Eagles can actually soar to an altitude of 10,000 feet – the only bird on the planet that can attain such a lofty height. From lofty altitudes, eagles see life from above. This allows them to not only get a clear picture of their surroundings, but also to observe what lies ahead, which positions them to see and seize opportunities.
We need vision to chart a course and successfully navigate the environment and changing circumstances of life to achieve our goals. Specifically, we need to see:
Within – What do I feel?
Behind – What have I learned?
Around – What is happening to others?
Ahead – What do I anticipate?
Above – What part does God play?
Beside – What resources are available?
#2: Eagles Are Fearless
Often times an eagle will hunt prey that are much larger than itself, pose a degree of danger, or are very elusive. Whether the target is small deer, goats, snakes, or fish, the eagle never surrenders to the size, strength, or difficulty of its prey. They possess a remarkable, relentless amount of courage to take on risks.
We need to be fearless in order to face problems head on. Fearless, courageous people are never dismayed in the face of the odds, for they are never afraid of failure. They maintain a fierce, tenacious persistence when taking on big endeavors that may seem unachievable.
#3: Eagles Welcome and Take Advantage of Adversity
Almost all animals seek shelter when a storm approaches. They take cover and hide until the bad weather passes. Not so with eagles. When a storm rolls in, and eagle says, “Let’s go!” Instead of hiding from the blasting winds, an eagle flies into them. The strong currents of air allow the eagle to soar faster and farther than in normal flying conditions. The eagle eagerly takes advantage of the very storm that lesser birds and animals avoid.
Everyone faces storms, but we need to welcome them as opportunities to rise up and soar faster and farther than before. We must realize that adversity can provide the following advantages:
Adversity creates resilience
Adversity develops maturity
Adversity pushes the envelope of future performance
Adversity provides greater opportunities
Adversity prompts innovation
Adversity brings unexpected benefits
Don’t be a parrot, content to sit on the same perch, mulling over the same stale seeds and repeating the same words day after day. Be an eagle! Fly the coop, spread your wings, and dare to soar to the best of your ability. You never know where the winds might take you.