Last summer, I noticed Don, a regular walker on the side streets of the neighborhood in which I live. He was walking alone. He almost always had his alley cat, Coffee, walking beside him. Don adopted Coffee a few years ago, and the cat loves taking walks. It’s an oddity that always makes me smile.
I asked Don where Coffee was and he calmly said, “Coffee’s been roaming the neighborhood for two days. He’s on a fantasy vacation. He’s pulled this a couple of times in the past few years. Every time someone calls him, he scoots off. He’ll come home when he’s ready.”
I was curious why Don wasn’t more upset about this situation, since I’d known the two of them for several years and they seemed inseparable. After a little more chit chat, I commented, “Geez Don, I know how much you love that cat, and how much the both of you enjoy each the other’s company. I’m sorry that Coffee’s not come home yet. I hope he’ll be okay while he’s on this fantasy vacation of his.”
Don’s response was perfect. Without batting an eye, he smiled, looked at me and said, “Coffee is a smart boy. He’s also very healthy and strong. He’ll soon tire of the adventure of living in the ‘wild’, and remember all that I mean to him. At that point, there’ll be nothing that can stop him from coming back. I will hear him meowing on the front porch wanting me to let him in.”
After we parted company, I began thinking about the great insight that Don offered me with this incident. I, like Coffee, also love taking on a good challenge. And that’s because I see it as ‘an adventure’ when I remember how much succeeding means to me. At that point, it matters not what obstacle may confront me – I know that I will achieve sweet victory.
Coffee’s kind of thinking creates a powerful emotional force that enables him to overcome any challenge that may confront him while on his fantasy vacation, and overcome any obstacle that may get in his way when it’s time to venture home again. We all have access to that force. It’s what gives us the inner strength to keep going when the going gets rough.
Coffee is the unassuming guru that enlightened Don to this powerful force, and Don was the unassuming guru that pointed it out to me. Think of what it means to win at something. If it’s truly meaningful, then what can possibly stop you?
Be sure to check out my latest feature in the Huffington Post: