The other day I stepped into my garage and noticed a toad leaping persistently into a corner. Thud – thud – spread eagling into the corner and belly flopping back to the cement. The garage doors were open but he kept jumping into that lonely corner, his back to the sunshine and freedom. At first I thought he was extremely clever –practicing his jump so he'd be able to snatch the first bug that got caught in one of the spider web strands above. Then I concluded he was simply daft – even for a toad.
So I encouraged him and pointed enthusiastically toward the door, tried tickling him with a feather, prodding with a stick. I whistled and demonstrated hopping toward the open door. No luck. He was blind to my coaching.
I gave up and headed to work. But he got me thinking. How many times do we hop like crazy, really thinking we're getting somewhere, telling ourselves that if we jump a little higher or a little faster everything will work out? Are we sometimes so focused and determined to win a battle that we fail to see we are actually losing and if we simply shifted our perspective and turned around we'd see an open door … wide open with sunshine pouring in. If only we stopped jumping for a moment and turned around.
Perseverance is usually a great trait when it comes to creativity – it ensures your ideas become a reality. But that toad made me step back and acknowledge that there are many projects and/or situations where sustained effort may actually be preventing you from pursuing more desirable options.
When I came home later the toad wasn't in the corner. But the next day I saw him - about 3 feet from the corner - in a partially mummified state. He hopped himself to death pursuing his goal. Maybe now is a good time to reevaluate our goals – there may be an open door beckoning.