West European Hedgehog

Image via Wikipedia

Isaiah Berlin adapted this ancient Greek fable of the Fox and the Hedgehog.

Foxes are clever, cunning creatures.

They are able to come up with innovative ways of hunting their prey and have the sharp teeth and claws plus lightning fast reflexes to make them very effective hunters.

Just imagine a fox coming up against a little hedgehog. 

It jumps out to attack and the hedgehog curls up into a ball, leaving its spines out to defend itself.

Undeterred, the fox sneaks off and then ambushes the hedgehog again.

The hedgehog curls up into a ball again.

The fox goes away and comes up with another plan to take on the hedgehog. 

As usual, it ends with the hedgehog curling up in a ball until the fox goes away again.

The fox gives up and the hedgehog goes about its business.

Berlin concluded that foxes have lots of little clever ideas and hedgehogs have one big idea.  Jim Collins in his book Good to Great, goes on to explain that in the end it’s not the organisation or person with lots of clever ideas who wins.  It’s the organisation or individual who focuses on one specific thing that they can:

  1. do better than anyone else.
  2. be passionate about.
  3. get paid for. 

In light of this, I have a few questions for you today:

What specific thing should you be focussing on?

Can you be truly outstanding at it?

Are you passionate about it?

Can you make a living from it?

If you can answer these questions, then you can be the hedgehog who wins.

Previous post – It’s Always Tough at First

Next post – The Astronaut and the Farmer – A Story About How We Define Success