The Definition of Insanity
It all started five days ago. I was eating breakfast and I heard a rhythm of knocks at the door. It stopped for a while, but it soon started up again. Knock, knock, knock. I opened the door and looked around but I didn’t see anyone. I went upstairs to focus on my work.
I wasn’t sitting at my desk for more than five minutes when I heard the rhythmic knocking again. Knock, knock, knock, knock. On and on it went until I ran back down the stairs and opened the door. Again, I didn’t see anything and I closed the door. I asked my husband later that day if he had heard that same sound emanating from the front door. He too had wondered what the sound was and had opened the door to find nothing.
Finally, on the fourth day of knocking, my husband quietly walked out the side door and worked his way to the front of the house. There, at the front door, was a Robin banging his head against the door’s brass kick plate, over and over again.
According to an expert on bird behaviors, this is about the time when they start feeling territorial. They do their very best to keep other adult birds of the same sex outside of their territorial boundaries. When a Robin notices its reflection in a window or mirror, it becomes agitated and raises its feathers and assumes dominant position. Normally, that behavior is enough to make other robins leave their territory.
However, the “reflection” obviously also gets agitated and becomes equally dominant. If the robin sees his reflection repeatedly, it becomes more and more agitated and aggressive. The bird gets determined to drive the “other bird” away.
Apparently, my robin friend was quite aggravated with the nerve of the “brass plate” bird. No matter how much he threw his weight (and head) at the bird, the “brass plate” bird continued to fight back. Therefore, that bird felt obligated to come back to my front door over and over again to show the other bird who was boss.
But we know the truth. The “brass plate” bird was only a reflection and didn’t truly exist. However, for my friend the Robin, it was very, very real and threatening. The bird’s response to the threat was the same ritualistic behavior every time, which, as we know, was not bringing him the outcome that he wanted.
What do you fear in life? It’s possible that you have fears that are keeping you from moving forward. Like our friend the Robin, your usual way of dealing with these threats are based on past behavior. Do you have a coping pattern of pulling the covers over your head or do you persevere and face whatever’s in front of you? Chances are, you repeat this ritualistic behavior over and over. It’s very possible that your fear is about as real as that birds reflection in the brass kick plate.
Your success on moving forward in life is dependent upon your ability to see the fear for what it truly is— only a reflection of your past negative experiences. Your success on moving forward is dependent upon your ability to change your patterns and find a new way to approach the fear.
Only then will you stop banging your head against the brass kick plate.