Yellow Rumped Warblers can change your perspective on life.
There is a great story about a young Richard Feynman. His dad would take him out bird watching and ask “What is that?”
To which the young Richard would typically answer something liked “That’s a yellow rumped warbler.”
Because he had a brilliant perspective on life, Daddy Feynman would respond “Well that’s what humans call it………..
But its more than that. That is a bird that lives it’s life going back and forth from the Seattle Area to New England. Sometimes going down in to California. It eats both insects and berries. It also……….”
The lesson this day was not about birds. It was about labels. Because it’s dangerous to live in this world using labels.
Labels define things. Labels also have a tendency to define people. They also sets limitations.
This is particularly dangerous with people. People are nuanced and rarely one thing. Nor should they be.
What if….. What if I’m “a democrat”……..who wants a huge military. What if I’m “a Republican”…………….that wants nationalized medicine. What if I’m “A Catholic”………………..who is pro choice.
Good, Bad. Right, Wrong. Us, Them. These are all labels and they are all wrong. Labels are wrong and they are dangerous. People fight wars over labels. Labels are generalizations…..and all generalizations are wrong.
All generalizations are wrong.
My message to you today is to see that people around you as a bird that is a bird that lives it’s life going back and forth from the Seattle Area to New England. Sometimes going down in to California. It eats both insects and berries. It also……….”
Remove the labels. You know these are wrong because you will feel it. You will hear someone – or hear yourself – saying something “Those people blah blah blah ” or “you know what the problem is, _______ are always blah blah blah.” These thoughts are emotionally charged and you will feel it in your body. You will feel your blood pressure rise. That’s the power of labels……and all generalizations are wrong.
The most dangerous of these labels are the ones you put on yourself. “I’m such a …..” is terrible road to travel.
I’m such a procrastinator
I’m so stupid
I always do ____
These are all labels your put on yourself. And they are ALL wrong. We are never ALWAYS anything.
Just feel the difference with the slight change
I do procrastinate sometimes
I sometimes make mistakes on things I don’t completely understand
Yeah, sometimes I do _____ but I can do better
I’m not sure how to _________ thought I could probably find a way.
It’s pretty easy to see the difference.
And feel the empowerment.
Challenge: Look for ways to deconstruct the labels that you and others use in our lives, and see how it feels.