Overcome. The Cheetah’s Message

Ivory, and his example of overcoming.

Overcome.


This cheetah was living a life in chains. He was chained to the ground. Forced to be petted by hundreds of people a day.

He did not know his mother. He was taken from her as a cub. And thus he was never taught how to hunt by her.

He was destined for a life behind fence. A life behind bars.
But then, this cheetah, whose name is Ivory, was given another chance at life…

He was released into the wild.


Experts said he would never be able to hunt. It was impossible. Because he never had a mother to teach him.

They said, he could never be wild.

It was a hot afternoon, I was out monitoring, and was looking for Ivory.

Deep in the thick bush, I found him.

He was a huge cheetah. Most people were nervous of him. He was very powerful. And I had seen him charge several men before. Though with me, he was always very calm. I believe because I showed him respect, and simply remained very calm when around him, it gave him the sense that, me being there, was totally normal. And thus he had no reason to have a reaction to me.

I also never went to close to his food.
So eventually, Ivory knew me to be an “Acceptable human”.
He would allow me quite close.


So when I took this image, Ivory had just made a kill. And as he tore into his meal, I watched his absolute ferocity. His most certain strength. How could anyone look at the magnificent example of power, and not see how incredible he was.

And as I was thinking this, marveling at his beauty and strength, he paused for just a moment, and looked into my eyes…

It was almost like he knew what I was thinking, and in his eyes he seemed to say, “I will always overcome.”

This magnificent cheetah did not doubt his ability to overcome all things.

So I believe Ivory is sharing a message to the world:

Your current circumstances may have you feeling trapped, chained, and behind bars.
All those “experts” and “judges” who seem to be good at declaring your wrongs, yet refuse to see their own, may be telling you what you are. Who you are.
What you cannot do.
What you can never be.

Ivory


But if a cheetah can prove wrong the naysayers, and rise above the darkness of current predicaments, you can too.
Challenges are a part of life. But we can overcome all things. We are built to succeed.
And Ivory is a perfect example of this.


Ivory is a fully wild cheetah.

He is living free at Amakhala Game Reserve.
And is a father of two cubs. And sure to be a father of many more magnificent cheetahs in the future.

An Elephant’s Wisdom on Leadership

An elephant drinking, the inspiration for this post.

This picture is a different angle of the largest land mammal on the planet…

I was observing a herd of elephants drinking from a waterhole, it was warm, dry afternoon in South Africa.

And I watched the matriarch of the herd, she led her “people” to the water. It seemed they must have traveled far, and were hot and weary. And they seemed so grateful to finally arrive at the water.

But the matriarch made sure all of the herd was together and drinking, before she herself began to relax and enjoy.

She never stopped making sure all things were in order, and everyone was safe…


Elephants have a matriarchal system.
They follow the wisest female.
And she passes on her wisdom and knowledge to the younger generation.
Yet why do elephants follow her?

Leadership is so important. And here is something the elephants show us regarding that:


Look at people’s ACTIONS.
Elephants learn from their actions. They make mistakes, they get through hardships together, and then they pass down the knowledge gained from their history from generation to generation.


An elephant matriarch does not lead by simply being the loudest.
She leads by the knowledge and wisdom that came from her experience. And what’s been passed down to her.

An elephant herd drinking after a long journey in South Africa.


An elephant matriarch is not a leader because she gains glory and praise, nor does she withhold her wisdom from others, she’s not worried about someone else getting credit.
In fact, an elephant matriarch actually often suffers, she must put herself in the face of danger, take action and make often very tough decisions, and sometimes those decisions do not work out, but they are not made for herself, she does it for the good of her family. Her people.
She wants success to be for everyone. Not just herself.

And whatever may happen to the herd, they always get it through it together.


An elephant matriarch also does not judge. She is not condemning the mistakes made by her people, who has time for that? With elephants, when a mistake is made, they come together to solve it. They get through it. And think nothing more of it, only learn from it.


Elephants support each other. They work together.


And isn’t it amazing that this animal walks our beautiful earth? That such an impressive creature can teach us so much in how we treat one another?
In what it means to be a leader.

What it means to be a team.


It is a great blessing to share the earth with such inspiring creatures. To be able to watch and observe the life around us, and better ourselves by learning from it.

An elephant herd at a river in South Africa.

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An Elephant’s Lesson on “Your Choice”

Adult elephant teaching a young one how to use its trunk

An adult elephant teaching the young…

I observed this very special moment in Africa.

A herd of elephants came out of the Bush, hurrying along to a waterhole.

Dust storms arising at their mighty, yet quite, padded feet.

In amongst the middle of the adult elephants was one tiny baby.

Coming to the water.

He walked with the confidence of one who had not a fear in the world.

As the herd approached the water, taking not that there was no danger around, they then spread out a bit to enjoy the refreshing water.

One of the adults then chose to teach the baby elephant how to use its trunk to drink water…and in this special moment, they showed me a most beautiful lesson, which I believe the world needs to hear:


There may not be a way for us to perfect and control all things that happen in our lives, but certainly we CAN choose to do the right thing…
We can choose to learn from others, and to also teach others.


To rather be a guide and a positive example, than a judge and condemner.


To give, and to love.
To help when it is needed, to save another when we are called, and to forgive when we are asked.


Choose to be the reason someone takes a step forward.
Never be the reason someone trips.
Never choose to hurt someone.


Be the elephant who teaches the young.

We may not be able to control and avoid all of the hardships and challenges we face in life, but we most certainly can choose the way we treat others. And by choosing to better another’s life, we are also bettering our own.

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