I don’t know which came first: the angry birds or the angry humans. But I do know we can learn from the angry birds how to reach peak performance in our organizations and how to live more successful lives. Consider for a moment these scenarios as you read my story and see if your mind starts creating solutions to these and similar scenarios that relate to you:

  • Perhaps you have an insecure sociopathic person in your organization or Board trying to sabotage you to get ahead…
  • Perhaps you have an insecure sociopathic competitor trying to sabotage your company to get ahead…
  • Perhaps you have a disgruntled, insecure neighbor, family member or random person you encounter in your daily life…
  • Perhaps you yourself are angry and disgruntled and overprotective about something…

When I speak of angry birds, I’m not talking about the game. I’m talking about actual angry birds, specifically, the ones that recently took over an entire block outside my building.

Angry MockingBird (Photo by Peter LeTourrette)

Sadie, my dog, aka Director of Relaxation at Bridgenosis, and I had a little daily routine walk down one block alongside our building. One day recently, a bird came suddenly flying out of a tree and began dive-bombing us. Multiple times it pecked at Sadie’s 12-year-old back. My instinct was to swat at it and say some words I ought not repeat here. This happened several days in a row until I decided to change our routine to avoid the bird. The first day we crossed the street to walk the same block, but away from the tree where it was lurking, and that was safe. The next day, I noticed that the bird began defending the whole sidewalk. It attacked us as we were about to cross the street. A few days later, the bird further expanded its attack to include the opposite side of the street.

The increasingly frequent bird attacks were the subject of much neighborhood chatter. There were four Mockingbird eggs in a nest just outside the building not far from the tree where we were first attacked. There were actually two birds taking turns watching for and dive-bombing “intruders” on the block. The birds initially appeared to limit their attention to dogs, not bothering anyone who walked down the street without a dog. But, then they began to terrorize every person and animal who dared enter their zone of protection. Before long, the birds had the entire block to themselves.

The irony:  None of us beings (dogs or humans) would ever try to harm those baby birds the angry ones were defending. In fact, most of us didn’t even know where the nest was. Even if we did, it was high enough that no one could reach it, and all the dogs are city dogs on leashes.

The angry birds’ behavior could not have been more irrational. But, you see, just like our subconscious minds, birds don’t have any discretion. Rather, their brains are comprised of the subconscious creative mind, so they learn through association and operate automatically from such associations. At some point, long ago, an autopilot instinctual program formed inside the Mockingbirds to defend their nests aggressively at all costs, regardless of whether it’s necessary.

Perhaps the Mockingbirds had a bad experience and are still operating from that ancestral memory. Part of it may have also been born from the Mockingbirds’ generally aggressive behavior-stealing from other birds’ nests. They assume that others are the same. It’s a “bird eat bird” world for these guys.

There’s more irony: I realized I had an overprotective program playing, too. You see, the birds never actually hurt Sadie and were highly unlikely to cause her real harm. She didn’t even notice them. She was too busy smelling roses and finding the perfect spot to mark, fully enjoying her walk. It was I who noticed the birds attacking her. And I didn’t like the idea of them ruling the entire sidewalk and trying to hurt innocent dogs. So I responded to their anger with my anger, which gave them more reason to “attack” us.

But, when I reflected on it, I realized there was no reason for me to be so angry or defensive since they couldn’t do any real harm. My false limiting belief was that they could harm us – that they had power over us. So, I decided to take a new approach. No more avoiding the block and no more angry response. I took a deep breath and mustered up all the courage and peace I had inside me, and we walked right down the street. When the bird came at us, I just ignored it and breathed deeply. It responded by stopping the dive-bombing and just yelling at us. Each day, we walked peacefully by, ignoring the birds and eventually they stopped attacking. The baby birds have since hatched. I still see the protective parents standing guard and occasionally threatening to attack, but their behavior is less aggressive.

Limiting beliefs breed fear. Fear breeds more fear and anger. Anger breeds more anger.

Unlimiting truths and beliefs breed confidence, which breeds more confidence and peace and calmness, which breed more peace and calmness.

The scenarios at the beginning all take place on a subconscious level–the problems and solutions can be found in your creative mind. You don’t have to change the other person to change the scenarios. Instead, locate and delete the limiting beliefs that are holding you in the scenario. What is it that you “believe” is overpowering you in the situation but that you know deep down really isn’t? Believe the “deep down” instead and watch your scenario unravel.

Need help? At Bridgenosis, we have new one-on-one mind expansion plans for leaders in-person and via video-conference. Come join the Bridgenosis movement to redefine empowerment among leaders and give your organization a makeover.

Did your mind create any “a ha” moments after reading this blog? We want to hear from you. Leave a comment!