08/13/2012 09:05 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Cardinal and the Window

This past spring we all heard the knocking, the repeated sound of something bumping into the window in the dining room. It didn't take long to see that it was a cardinal smashing itself into the window. Repeatedly.

It will stop soon, we all thought.

It didn't.

We tried the lazy things--opening the window so it was at a different angle, taping up pictures. Those didn't help.

On closer inspection, we noticed blood. Yes, blood. Cardinal blood. The window is a veritable crime scene of bird spit and blood, and still the cardinal won't stop.

I looked it up in a book and read that he thinks his reflection is a rival. Stupid bird, I thought to myself. And I told a friend of mine, "Our greatest enemy is within." That reflection is no threat to the bird, a lesson he should have learned by now, a month and a half into summer.

Then I got to thinking about how many of us do the same thing. We imagine threats where there are none. We hit our heads relentlessly against a wall or window without taking the time to really see and inspect the situation and identify a real solution. As a manager, trust me, I deal with this EVERY DAY. And I'm sure I do it, too. I can think of 10 examples, but I won't list them out of respect to everyone, including myself.

My daughter has been assigned with cutting out the giant outline of a hawk and taping it to the window. But she's 15, so who knows when that will actually occur unless I force it, which doesn't seem a priority. Eventually, I'll get to it. But meanwhile, it seems to be a constant reminder that we should stop pounding our heads against windows. Stop seeing threats where there are none. Make peace with the enemy within.

It's just our own heads we are hurting, after all.

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