I I saw this video again this week, and it reminded me a great deal of this school year. In the video, I think we can take some important life lessons 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 relatively 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.” We sometimes forget 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 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 mother’s initial ascent established the path, 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 of 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, 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 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 to persevere.

I love videos like this because the lessons are endless and our individual perspectives allow 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. There are many more lessons to be found in this video, take some time to think about what the video can tell you about how to persevere through the struggles in your life.

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