Bear Necessities

I saw this video about week ago and have watched it a few times since. In the video I think there are some important life lessons we can take from these two bears. Watch it for yourself first.

Here are three (of many potential) lessons I believe we can learn from these bears.

1. People on the top of the mountain didn’t fall there. The mother bear makes the climb look fairly easy. There are a few missteps in her climb, but she makes it to the top without much difficulty. The bear cub must think, “This will be easy…look how quickly my mom got there.” What we forget sometimes is that the “experts” have often put in a great deal of work over the years to make “any” task look easy. The mother bear has experience. She has probably climbed hills like this before. She has weight on her side which helps her sink into the snow, and she knows how to balance herself on this climb to get to the top. It looks easy, but we don’t think about the number of climbs the mother bear has taken over the years to build the skill needed to make it to the top of the mountain. People at the top of their game didn’t fall there, they built their expertise over time with deliberate practice and plenty of missteps along the way. Often we just want that expertise, and we are not always willing to sacrifice and commit the time needed to build those skills.

2. The path others take may not be the right path for you. At one point, the bear cub gets on the path the mother took. The first time I watched, I thought, this is it…this will get the cub to the top. While that path got the bear cub close, it did not ultimately result in getting it all the way there. Even though the path was established by the mother’s initial ascent, it still wasn’t the right path for the cub. This same principle applies to our lives. We often look to those who have gone before us and think — there is the secret to success. I will just do what they did, and then I will get to the top. What we find is that this most typically does not work. Just because it was the right path for someone else, doesn’t mean it is the path for everyone. Someone else’s path may show us a way to the top, but it is not always a cookie cutter template. If all challenges were that easy, then everyone would take the same path in any endeavor. Each path is unique, you have to find the way that works for you. Stay diligent, the path is there, you just have to find the one that will lead you to the top.

3. You don’t always get the help you think you need. If you were like me, there were a couple times you asked, “Why doesn’t the mother bear go help?” She just stands at the top and watches. From the mother bear’s perspective, this is probably something the bear cub has to learn. They live in a harsh environment. If the cub cannot make this climb, then it will not survive in the long run. If the mother bear enables the cub and constantly steps in to help, the cub will never learn the lessons needed to survive once the mother and cub part ways. The mother doesn’t leave, she stays and watches, but she does not step in and help. When faced with challenges, sometimes we have to figure it out for ourselves. If you consistently go to others for help when times are tough, then you will always need to rely on others for success. We cannot always expect family, friends, or colleagues to step in and help when we need it. The only person you can always rely on is yourself. Others can provide support, but you have to be able to depend on what is inside of you to get through the challenges you face. Instead of asking: Why others won’t step in and help?, dig deep inside to find the strength you need in order to persevere.

I love videos like this because the lessons are endless and our individual perspectives allows us to see different facets of learning. The three lessons I share here are simply three of the things that came to mind when I watched. I would love to hear your takeaways from this video. Feel free to send me an email (bknight@perryschools.org), stop by for a conversation (if you are close), or leave a comment on my blog.

Keep learning; keep growing; keep sharing!

5 thoughts on “Bear Necessities

  1. Brian, I just love this video and the lessons you point out from it! I, too, thought that when the cub took his mother’s path that he would make it to the top. I sure wanted her to hug him when he got to the top! It made me think of the persistence required when we falter. We can’t give up just because something is hard. The rewards are great when we hang in there!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Jennifer

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  2. I had my 13-year old watch the video and he said, “Why doesn’t he go in his mom’s footsteps?” then he said he didn’t want to watch because he thought the eagle was going to get it. I asked him to keep watching and he also asked why the momma bear didn’t go down and help him. So we had one of our “life lessons” discussion and I mentioned some of the things you discussed in your blog! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!

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