The proud peacock of today may be only a feather duster tomorrow. – Rick Barnes (also attributed to E. P. Atkins)
What does that mean?
This quote seems to have been around for quite some time, but the theme remains the same. Top of the world one day, mundane cleaning implement the next.
A usual part of being around for a while is that the quote shows up in a number of forms and is attributed to a number of different people. In any case, it is interesting.
The quote is reminding us that fame is fleeting, as is beauty, and even life itself. At any moment, your status could change. That pop star with the first name of Justin may well be finding that out shortly.
To me, the bottom line of this quote is humility. Yes, the fame might be nice, but you should know it won’t last. No matter what you are now, it won’t last forever. All things will end. Don’t get too hung up on the peacock thing, right?
Why is humility important?
As the quote says, even the brightest and fanciest peacocks eventually face a day when they are no longer all that impressive. Eventually, they may even find that their pride and joy, their tail feathers, have become nothing more than a cleaning tool for gathering up the dust.
How much more humble might you be if you thought of the way things will be at the end? When we remember our place in the universe, when we remember that all things which are born must also die, it can be a little easier to be humble, and not strut quite so much.
Don’t get me wrong, if you’re good, you can admit it. But when you become a self-publicity machine, and strut everywhere with your brightest plumage on display, you have to know it will eventually end, and that it won’t be pretty, right? Yet so many people forget this, and make fools of themselves.
As usual, there is such a thing as too much or too little. The trick is finding the middle ground, where you are neither hiding, nor strutting. That place does exist, and most of us remember to not stray too far towards strutting. But it can be hard sometimes. Perhaps this quote will help you.
Where can I apply this in my life?
The opposite of humility is arrogance. Where in your life are you a little arrogant? Under what circumstances are you most likely to strut and preen? When does it tend to happen? If you don’t know, perhaps it’s because you don’t do it. Then again, you just might not have noticed it.
This is another exercise in introspection and self-examination. Have you given much thought to this topic in the past? Why or why not? And when do you think would be a good time to revisit the topic? Might the occasion of this quote be as good a reason as any other?
Take a moment and think about the questions asked in the opening paragraph of this section. We all have times when we are a little more proud of what we have done or accomplished than normal. They might not all raise us to the status of peacock, but it’s a good place to start.
When is it most likely to happen? Under what circumstances? Are you an end-zone dancer? When are you most tempted to have your peacock moment? I would caution against simply listing any time you have a great time, or show off, unless you really live to do it, and do it frequently.
Given how reserved I am as a person, this isn’t something I do very often. Some of you may find yourself wondering if you ever do it at all. Perhaps not. Not every quote applies equally to each person. To me, the important point is that you took the time to consider it, to examine your life.
For those of you who are basically done, consider entering a phrase or term in the search window and take a shot at a different quote. Who knows what you might find out about yourself as you dig into other parts of your life, right? Just don’t strut around, claiming you’ve got this one covered, right? 8)
For the rest, is there a common thread in the times you are a little less than humble? Is it every time you talk about your grand-kids? Ask yourself if it is strutting or just a more appropriate version of pride. Again, if there is a pattern, changing one thing can yield big results.
What could you do to keep that feather duster in mind when you start to get a little too prideful? How can you use this quote to help you remain humble? Is there some other saying or method you think would be helpful? If you have something that works, please share it in the comments section.
From: Twitter, @DennyCoates
confirmed at : http://books.google.com/books?id=NbwcAQAAMAAJ&pg=…
Photo by Madison Berndt