Why Armadillos Have Soft Bellies
And why your flaws deserve some love.
There was once an armadillo who was extremely self-conscious about his belly.
His name was Bob, Bob the Armadillo.
Bob would plead:
“How come I was born with my back covered with armour, but with my stomach completely exposed and vulnerable to predators? With all due respect- there has got to be a better way to design an armadillo!"
And so, every night, Bob would look up to the skies and wait for a star to fall, wishing intensely for his whole body to become impervious to his enemies.
One lucky night, the stars listened- and granted Bob his wish!
A hapless mammal no more, he was now miraculously covered with armour from head to toe like a perfect little tank.
Oh joy! Bob was ecstatic.
At last, he could roam the woodlands confidently without fearing for his life.
At last, he could munch on ants and termites in peace, knowing that his body was a fortress that no predator would dare to encroach upon.
At last (but not least), every creature big and small would see the authentic Bob: dependable, tough-shelled, and brave.
Bob is ready to roll.
He emerges from his burrow and stands up tall for the world to see, greeting the first day of the rest of his life with a chiseled underside. A new and improved version of himself, Bob Two-Point-Oh- to be admired but not touched.
First order of business? Snacks!
With top-of-the-food-chain attitude and swagger, Bob makes his way to an especially yummy ant hill as his former bullies- bears, coyotes, and one exceptionally mean raccoon named Horatio- look on, shocked and utterly humiliated...
The ant hill is nowhere to be found.
“They could not have relocated overnight... Could they?”—thinks Bob to himself.
But fret not! Bob’s got other top-quality grainy “buffets” to dig his tongue into. Unfazed, he turns around and sets foot towards a decade-old, “aged” termite mound that is well-known and loved by the snobbiest insect aficionados of the woodland.
…Five, fifteen, thirty minutes go by. This well-trodden path had never taken this long!
Where did this pond come from?
Who put that tree over there?
Something’s not right.
“Are you lost, little buddy?”—Bob can hear Horatio the Raccoon taunting him somewhere in the distance… or is that his own subconscious starting to panic?
“Screw this!”—exclaims Bob in dismay—“I want to go home!”
Stumbling back and forth with sheer bewilderment, he tries to make a U-turn--
but his front feet suddenly slip--
his body tumbles--
and in what became his final moments, Bob realizes:
“I think I’m falling off a cliff.”
Perhaps, Bob’s fate would have been different, had he only known that the hairs on his soft belly were helping him find his place in the world—like a compass—by scraping the ground and letting him feel where he was going.
Admittedly, that is a terrible end for Bob- but there is also a cautionary tale for each and every one of us.
When we think about bringing some sort of positive change into our lives, becoming our own “two-point-ohs”, it may be tempting to think:
“Man, if only I could get rid of this tendency to overthink, to procrastinate, to be lazy sometimes, then I would conquer the world with my unwavering productiveness and power of will!”
At last, I could propel my career forward without fear of failure.
At last, I could build the life I never dared to envision.
At last (but not least), everyone else would finally meet the authentic me: dependable, tough-skinned, and flawless.
What we don’t realize is that weakness is, in fact, a misnomer.
Our weaknesses are an expression of our (hairy) gut instinct—they make us stop and listen.
Our flaws let us feel whether the path we walk upon is leading us towards the edge of a cliff.
Thank you for reading!
If you, too, have a tendency to set impossible standards for yourself, you might find helpful my D3 Protocol (with a free printable PDF to go with it!) for decluttering the mind:
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