Friday, December 25, 2015

Harem or Death

On a nature show I watched about hippopotamuses, a young bull hippo approached an older bull hippo to challenge him for rights to his hippo harem. As they squared off, the viewer was informed that bull hippos are very aggressive and that a fight like this could easily be deadly. In other words, they won't simply be ramming some body part against each until somebody runs off--like, for instance, a bighorn sheep head-butt bout. Instead, these hippos opened their mouths wide and, with their long teeth oriented toward their adversary, jabbed their tusks at each other. Of course, eventually, blood was drawn. And then drawn some more. And some more. The younger bull was prevailing. He was stabbing the older guy relentlessly. But the senior bull couldn't bring himself to leave his harem. He couldn't ever get a good enough strike in to attain some upper hand-type footing. And he couldn't win.

That this is the "natural order of things" notwithstanding, it was heart-wrenching to watch. The old guy kept taking the stabs. And taking them. And taking them. Weakened, he eventually he couldn't run away even if he tried. The younger bull would simply not let up. The old guy finally just lied down in resignation. Alas, in hippodom, you don't allow even a scintilla of hope in your opponent that he may ever stage a comeback. You proceed inexorably, unremittingly, inevitably, and you extract the ultimate price.

The young one killed him.

It got me to thinking: What's the takeaway here? Well what if we try this on for size: If you want something, you not only don't give up, you also don't let up. Sure, perhaps this is only a thought experiment, but that doesn't preclude its possible validity. So just imagine: How would our pursuits, our endeavors, our purported goals, fare if we held to the same principle? Relentless effort to an end. It's an eye-opening attitude--even if I can't knowingly say it's the correct one for us in all our endeavors...but what if it was? I couldn't not marvel at the young bull's fervent determination. He never let up; he never took a break.

Wait what? Take a break? Yeah, what about taking a break? Sorry, not an option. What if you can't take a break and, AND, AND here's the kicker: This approach is the only way that allows you to get what you want. Remember: Rest is nice, but enthusiasm feels even better than rest. And feeling good is what it's all about. How do you like that? The young bull got all the girls. ALL of them.

He emerged victorious from an unwavering, unrelenting, unyielding, (probably) unapologetic, death match.

What can you get if you proceed relentlessly? What spoils "of war" await you?