5 Remarkable Lessons I Learned from a Torrey Pines Pelican

One Monday on the way to my office, I remembered a thought shared with me by my mentor, Les Brown, and some statistics on heart attacks. He said that the majority of heart attacks happen between 8:00 and 9:00 AM on Monday mornings, and that people were literally “dying” to go to work!

Not wanting to become a statistic, I discovered a route to the office that leads me by one of the most incredible views in the world. Wedged in between the cities of Del Mar and La Jolla, California, is a short stretch of coast-line called Torrey Pines Beach. The views here are amazing…it’s like a living postcard.

Whenever I have the time, I pull over and watch the waves for 5 or 10 minutes and simply forget about anything that might be troubling me.

The other day I was sitting there watching the surf and the surfers, and I see this lone pelican drifting on top of the waves.

pelicanNow if you’ve never seen a pelican up close, they are not one of God’s most attractive creatures! They have this long, crazy beak and this huge, pillow-case-looking thing hanging around their neck… It’s goofy. They are like the total misfits of land and sea. I could hardly stand to look at it.

And that got me thinking…Where else am I doing that?

Where else am I failing to pay attention to something or someone because of an external appearance?

Do YOU ever do that? Or maybe you’ve felt ignored because of the way you look?

On this day, I decided to look beyond the exterior – and I never thought a Pelican could give me an education in less than 10 minutes, but that’s exactly what he did.

He taught me 5 life lessons that day, and I’d like to share them with you now.

First, he taught me that you can find beauty in anything if you are willing to look beneath the surface.

As I watched that Pelican gliding above the waves, I was struck by the magic of his flight, and how effortless the movement was.

And he wasn’t battling the head-winds; he was going with the flow.

What a great reminder (and another lesson)… In the head-winds of life, go with the flow.

And then all of the sudden, the Pelican goes into this incredible dive and BOOM! – He disappears into the ocean below. A few seconds later he pops up, flies around a little bit, and then BOOM! – Back in the water.

Now I don’t know if he’s coming up with fish or he’s coming up empty, but all that I know is that he keeps diving in.

You see, life is a lot like that… God provides us with this vast ocean of opportunity, with all the fish, or money, or success, or anything that we’d ever need. But you’ve got to be willing to dive in and get it.

That’s the third thing he taught me. Keep diving in.

You might not come up with any fish the first time…or the next time. Or you may have to fly for days. You know, life can be hard when you’re pursuing your goals, but you’ve got to keep diving in. You’ve got to make the effort.

Another mentor of mine, Jim Rohn said; “For every disciplined effort there is a multiple reward.”

The key is making the effort, and expecting that eventually, you’re going to get that fish.

There’s a lesson in that, too. The fourth thing he taught me was that you must maintain an expectation that if you don’t give up, your persistence will pay off.

The first time that Pelican came up empty, he didn’t fly over to the beach, lie down, and quit, right? Of course not! He caught his breath, soared high up above the waves, and dove in again (and again) to get those fish.

And finally, the Pelican taught me that in order to maximize your chances of success, you must commit to utilizing all of your gifts collectively. He combined his excellent vision with determination, and blended them with his intense desire and hunger.

How bad do you want your goals? Is it enough to drive you? By persevering… doing whatever it takes for as long as it takes, he received the ultimate reward! You can expect the same outcome in your life.

So remember as you pursue your goals, be willing to look beyond the surface. Go with the flow. Keep diving in. Expect that your persistence will pay off, and remember to utilize your gifts to the best of your ability. Just a little friendly advice from a Torrey Pines Pelican!


About J. Shoop – I’m J. Shoop, Author, Speaker, and Personal Coach. I simplify achievement for entrepreneurs by aligning their outer results with their inner wisdom. Let’s connect on Twitter: @jshoop or visit www.wisdomandresults.com.