Live Like a Mockingbird: Fight for What You Care About ©
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JULY 20, 2008
David J. Pollay, HappyNews Columnist

My office door opens to a small courtyard; I have to walk across it to get to our kitchen. Lining my walk is a small stand of Bamboo trees to my left and a fountain to my right.
Here’s what happened today. As I was making my way across the courtyard, something hit me on the left shoulder. And it made a squeak on impact. I jumped and quickly looked around. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a small bird flying away from me and onto the roof of the building.
I smiled and figured that the bird and I had accidentally collided. I thought nothing more of it and went into the kitchen, filled my glass with water, and went back out into the courtyard. And then boom – I was hit again! But this time I took it on the right shoulder. I looked up and saw a Mockingbird fly away and land back on the roof. Right then I knew what was happening. This bird was protecting its nest.
Think about this. Mockingbirds weigh approximately 1.7 ounces (50 grams). On a good day, I weigh about 180 lbs. (78 kilos). The length of a Mockingbird is 9 inches (23 centimeters). Standing tall, I am 72 inches (about 1.8 meters). The Mockingbird is clearly outmatched. Yet, this fact does not stop it from doing what it has to do to protect its nest.
When I returned to my office and sat down, I thought: What is my “nest” in life? What is so important to me that I would fly in the face of adversity to care for it?
So, I ask the same question of you: What is your “nest” in life? Who do you protect? What do you care about? What do you value? Your first answer to this question is probably your family, your closest friends, or someone in physical danger; you would do anything you could for these people.
Here’s the harder question to answer: What else is in your nest? What else in your life are you willing to protect with such commitment and passion? What about your career? What about your dreams? How committed are you to them? What happens when you are told that you are not good enough to be a doctor, lawyer, writer, speaker, or whatever profession you are pursuing? What happens when people don’t immediately help you, or buy from you, or like your work? Do you stick with it, or do you give up?
The reality of life is that sometimes our goals feel unachievable; the path we must follow from where we are to where we want to go just seems too hard and too far to travel. And despite the claims of some people, good things do not come to us just because we wish them into our lives. Peter Drucker, one of the 20th century’s best known business thinkers said, “Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes...but no plans.” We have to believe deeply in why we want something, make the decision to pursue it, and then get out in the world and take action. And then, we have to stay the course when forces align against us.
We have to know what’s worth fighting for in our lives. We have to know when failure is not an option, and success is our only choice. And then we have to muster the courage to do what we have to do.
Live like a mockingbird.

David J. Pollay is the author of “Beware of Garbage Trucks!™ - The Law of the Garbage Truck™ (” His book, The Law of the Garbage Truck™, is due out this Fall, and you can read his blog each week. Mr. Pollay is a syndicated columnist with the North Star Writers Group, creator and host of The Happiness Answer™ television program and DVD, and an internationally sought after speaker. He is the founder and president of The Momentum Project. If you would like to reprint Mr. Pollay’s columns, or include them in your blog, please email david (at)
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