Welcome to another Fresh Start Monday, where we change the narrative… Today, we will be taking a closer look at wisdom. With our intent of living on purpose, in particular to understand the times we are in, wisdom becomes critical in our endeavours. The proper application of wisdom will enable us to make wise decisions and follow through. I thought to myself, where can I garner some lessons on wisdom and the phrase “wise as a serpent, harmless as a dove” kept coming to mind. So today, we will explore some lessons from the serpent.
Serpents are also known as snakes; they have been around for centuries. While other animals and insects have become extinct, others are on their way to extinction, serpents are still here, adapting to the changing times to ensure continued survival. They have been withstanding the test of time. In taking these lessons practically, can we withstand the test of time? Or will we lose our focus and drive when the hard days come?
There are three (3) main reasons why snakes shed their skin, as snakes grow their skin does not, in these instances, snakes shed their outer skin. Snakes also shed their skin when it gets old or worn out. Snakes normally initiate the process by rubbing against rocks, many times somewhere on the face so it can wiggle its way out.
I’m still intrigued by the wisdom employed by snakes, they are fully aware that as they grow, their skin won’t so they start the process of shedding their outer skin. They also start the process if the skin is old or worn for whatever reason. This means that snakes are always prepared for change, so much so, that they initiate the process. Are we always prepared for change? Are we so self-aware that we know when we have outgrown our circumstances or we’ve been there for too long? Will we be so in charge of ourselves that we initiate the changes needed even if it will make us uncomfortable?
Timing is also important, snakes shed their skin before reproducing or right after giving birth. Snakes are fully aware that in order to produce, one must be ready to change what needs to be changed, to ensure that the version of itself present is able to do what is required. It knows that with producing, it will outgrow its skin so it sheds it before or after the producing, ensuring it can fulfil its responsibilities and be who it needs to be for that period. Are we so in sync with ourselves and timing to know when it comes to producing, we must initiate the change process? Are we even willing to do so?
When snakes shed their skins, they leave it behind. After we have outgrown a situation for whatever reason, good or bad, will we leave it behind, in pursuit of greater? It is no secret that our last success can become the greatest deterrent to future successes, if we don’t appreciate that we should continually grow. Otherwise, we could build a mansion at our last success and campaign “I won the _____” even ten, twenty years later. How willing are we to always move forward to greater?
The wisdom of snakes in navigating change seems to be a great insight to them withstanding the test of time. They have so mastered the change process, to the point of initiating change, which is really the highest level of change management. A snake, that crawls on its belly, has mastered change management… have we?
Yet, as easily as they leave the past behind is as easily as they hold and defend their ground when threatened. Think especially of the rattlesnake or the cobra, they will fight rather than retreat. Will we hold and defend our ground? Will we fight to defend what is placed on our inside? Will we stay committed to our purpose, despite the threat we may face, or will we retreat?
As harmless as a dove
For thousands of years the dove has been indicative of innocence and peace. This part of the phrase, is to temper the traits of the snake. Therefore, in mastering the change process in our lives, our intent should never be to harm anyone, but to grow into our ultimate selves. We should endeavour to protect and defend our purpose, our cause, our whys, without intentionally hurting others. Our motives should be pure and peaceful.
Let us go forth “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” … and change our narrative…