Cooperation, Persistence, and Fun

Pretentiously, I call myself a flaneur.

That is, I walk around Noticing. Usually I Notice what people are doing or saying. Sometimes I Notice odd things happening, or I Notice natural beauty or architecture or street musicians.

And today, a beautiful spring day, called me again to be a flaneur, but today I Noticed something new.

I Noticed cooperation. I Noticed persistence. I Noticed fun.  

Look at this picture. These two pigeons are sharing a bagel, just like many of you probably do on a lazy weekend morning. The amazing thing is that these pigeons were taking turns! They weren’t pushing each other aside to get a good peck. No. One patiently waited for the other to walk away a bit, and then he began his pecking. When he moved away, the first pigeon came back.

I spent a good many years of my life running preschools. We always taught the toddlers to take turns with a toy, since they were really too young to get the concept of playing together and sharing. First one toddler can play for a while, then the other gets a turn. These pigeons were just like well-behaved toddlers! They were really cooperating, and as a result each got his share of bagel until they were both full.

Now look at this series of pictures. I found a terrific sandwich shop to have my lunch in. I was munching my sandwich at the counter in front of the windowed wall, and it was my great luck to get an amazing lesson in persistence. This bee started at the bottom of the window and walked up until at some point he lost his footing and slid all the way back down. Now this Sisyphus-type character did not give up. He started climbing up the window again and eventually slid back down again. This went on time after time until my sandwich was gone and I had to leave. But I wished the bee well and hoped he finally reached his goal. He was nothing, if not persistent.

So what is the best way to get work done? Well if you have a team, cooperation is essential, is it not? We must learn from the pigeons. And if a task is difficult, we must be persistent. There was no throwing up legs in defeat for the bee, and there was no whining either. He just persisted. I hope he eventually felt satisfied with his endeavors.

But while the pigeon and the bee teach us lessons in success, the next picture shows us the enormous value of fun. While I was taking pictures of this beautiful dog fetching the Frisbee in the sunshine of a spring day, he eventually fetched the Frisbee and brought it to me, dropping it at my feet. He would not move until I threw it for him and then he began the fetch game only with me. “Forget about getting your blog post done,” he said. “It is a beautiful day and you need to concentrate on having fun!”

Ok, Smart Doggy. You are right. Cooperation and persistence are all well and good. But the opportunity for a fun time is not to be frittered away.

©2014 Margery Leveen Sher

MARGERY IS AVAILABLE TO KEYNOTE YOUR MEETING OR CONFERENCE with a motivational talk peppered with both startling wisdom and humongous laughs:

“Notice What You See and Be a Hero at Work”

Margery Leveen Sher is a speaker, writer, and entrepreneur with decades of experience as a consultant for major corporations and government agencies.  She is the founder and Chief Noticing Officer of The Did Ya Notice? Project, and is currently writing the definitive book on Noticing.