In the remote Galapagos Islands there is an unusual species of bird called the flightless cormorant.

Like other cormorants, it feeds on fish and is able to dive for food.  Due to their remote location, they have no natural predators, so they don’t need to fly.

And so, over the generations, they have lost the keel on their sternum where the flight muscles are usually attached, rendering them flightless.  They have wings, but they are useless.

In recent years, introduced species of feral dogs and cats have been able to easily kill them because of their inability to fly, bringing this marvellous and unique species to the brink of extinction.

I’m not sure that we are too different from the poor old flightless cormorant.

When we get comfortable, we assume that everything is going to be OK and have a tendency to forget about the disciplines that we need to develop so that we can continue to thrive when things go wrong.

Over the years, I’ve met many people who are content to find a job that they can do easily.  They go through the motions for a few years and then, when the job disappears, they are surprised to find that their skills are out of date and that their job hunting prospects are grim.

Then there are those who equip themselves by reading daily, regularly attending courses or seminars and maintaining their edge in their industry.  They are constantly stimulating their minds, continuously developing their skills and are preparing themselves for the next step.

When something dramatic happens within their role, company or industry, they are able to spread their wings and fly because they have been vigilant in ensuring that they are ready to go when the time inevitably comes.

If you have skills, you need to continue to utilise them or they will atrophy and become useless.

Use it or lose it!

It’s an important principle and one worth remembering.

So let me ask you, if your job was to go tomorrow (and it could!) would you fly or become vulnerable to extinction?

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