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~ Robbie Coltrane ~ Horned Owl from the Owl Fe...

Image via Wikipedia

According to tradition, owls are considered to be the wisest of all birds.

Their large eyes give the impression of intelligence, so they are often depicted in stories as wise and knowledgeable.

Personally, I think that they are magnificent animals and there are few more impressive sights than an owl in its natural habitat.

But are they really wise?

I’m not sure if they are from an IQ perspective, but I think that there are a few principles of wisdom that we can learn from owls.

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School of scalloped hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna...

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Sharks are the top of the food chain in the ocean.

They are remarkable creatures and efficient killers who bring terror to swimmers and surfers around the beaches of the world.  Great whites, hammerheads, tiger sharks, mako sharks and whale sharks are amongst the iconic species found in the shark family.

As I consider this amazing and diverse group of predators, I’ve realised that there are a few helpful principles that we can learn from sharks.

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christmas tree

Image by milele via Flickr

Yes, it’s that time of year again.

Christmas Day is looming fast and will be here before we know it.

My wife and I have started our Christmas shopping and always aim to get it done before the start of December each year.  It’s always a nice feeling to have the presents wrapped and stored away until the big day.

However, I’m conscious that many people scramble around at the last minute, fighting for parking spots and desperately deciding what to buy for their friends and family without a list, a budget or anything distantly resembling a plan.

For people in this situation, Christmas goes from being a great celebration to becoming an additional, unnecessary stress.  They dread the whole experience, it sits over their head like a black cloud in the few weeks preceding the big day and then they’re relieved when it’s over.

It doesn’t have to be like that and I don’t think that it should be like that.  With some careful planning and early action, Christmas Day can become the day of joy, celebration, reflection and quality family time that it has been designed for.

As I considered this recently, it struck me that the principles of planning and action is appropriate for virtually any deadline that we are involved with.

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For the past 10 years or so, we have relied on a local guy named Keith to mow our lawns.

He’s generally accompanied by a massive St Bernard dog, much to the fascination of our kids and he’s done a great job for us.

However, Karen and I sat down and realised how much money we would save if we just bought our own lawn mower and did it ourselves (or should I say myself?).

So we bought one a couple of weekends ago and I’ve already had my first shot at mowing our own lawns.

As I contemplated this change for us, I realised that there are a few important principles that we can learn from lawn mowers.

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Photo by neeravbhatt via Flickr

Crocodiles are one of the most successful predators on the planet.

Sitting at the apex of the food chain, they are massive beasts that have a tried and true method of hunting that has remained consistent for thousands of years.

They are one of my oldest son’s favourite animals and we have watched numerous documentaries and read books together, giving me the chance to identify a few principles that I think we can learn from these iconic reptiles.  They all start with the letter P, making them easier to remember:

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Photo by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

When I was growing up, we used to go on the occasional interstate road trip as a family.

I can remember with great fondness the long drives, the regular stops to stretch the legs, the sights along the way and falling asleep to the rocking of the car, all things that I look forward to sharing with my kids in the coming years as we go on our own road trips.

Of course, in romanticising such trips, I’m choosing to ignore the inevitable “are we there yet? questions from the back seat and the undoubted arguments that the three kids will have along the way.

Having said that, road trips are a great tradition and there are a few terrific principles that we can learn from them.

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Photo by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

Snakes are one of the most maligned creatures going around.

From the giant anaconda of the Amazon, to the rattlesnakes of the Americas, the cobras of Asia and Africa and the taipan of Australia, there are many well-known species and they have managed to inhabit almost the entire planet.

Since the Garden of Eden, they’ve been feared, but there are a few principles that we can learn from these unique creatures.

What can we learn from snakes?

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Runners participating in the 2005 New York Cit...

Image via Wikipedia

It seems that many of my peers in the coaching industry and blogging world are into long-distance running.

I’m not.

It’s just not for me.  I can relate to David Letterman when he says, “I pulled a hamstring during the New York marathon.  An hour into the race I jumped up from the couch.”

Having said that, I have great admiration for those who are able to run long distances, especially those who are able to put themselves through the arduous journey of a marathon.

After the recent Boston Marathon bombing, here are some of the principles that we can learn from marathon runners.

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Canada Geese in V formation

Image via Wikipedia

Geese are seemingly innocuous birds, but there have been some interesting and well-documented principles that can be learned from them, especially from their migratory flying patterns.   

This information has been used many times and has been attributed to Dr. Robert McNeish, who first used it in a sermon he delivered in the early 70’s.    

What can we learn from geese?    

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Photo courtesy of flickr

 

I love watching wildlife documentaries.  

Thankfully, so does my five year old son Hayden, so we’ll often be seen on the couch together watching another David Attenborough classic.  

One of my favourites is about cheetahs.  As the fastest land mammal and capable of extraordinary athleticism, to watch them in full pursuit is amazing viewing.  

I was discussing them with Hayden a few days ago and realised that there are a couple of great principles that we can learn from them.  

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