By Limalenden Longkumer |
Once upon a time, an eagle’s egg was found by a farmer and mistaken for a chicken egg. The egg was placed with other eggs in the incubator at the hen house.
Some weeks later that egg hatched. The baby eagle was raised as a chicken with the other chickens. Along with his chicken peers, he was taught to peck and scratch. He was made to scurry along the ground like the other chickens. He was sternly warned against flying, because chickens don’t fly – they flutter and fall.
This eagle made a miserable chicken. He didn’t peck well. He hated scurrying because he was always feeling clumsy and falling. He was always hungry and irritable, because the chicken feed just couldn’t seem to satisfy him. The other chickens found him disruptive and odd.
After years of struggling to be a normal chicken, this poor eagle’s self-esteem was pretty low. He hated himself. “Why am I so big, awkward and different?” he often wondered. “Why can’t I be happy like all the other chickens here?”
“Is this all there is to life?” he agonized. “Where’s the thrill? Where’s the flow?”
He began to do more and more disruptive things just to get a little hit of excitement. He was starved for action and adventure – he desperately craved in his heart that feeling of soaring – only he didn’t even know what that was – so he tried to compensate by making his own thrills around the chicken coop, causing drama and disturbances. Other chickens called him selfish, disordered and a troublemaker. The poor eagle took it all to heart, believed them and became depressed.
One day, high overhead the young eagle saw another eagle soaring in the sky. It took his breath away. For a moment he felt a surge of recognition. He felt something inside him. He felt more alive than he had ever felt before.
In his excitement he told his family of chickens what he saw and how he wanted to fly like that too. They scoffed at him. “Are you nuts?! You’re dreaming. Get real, chickens don’t fly. You are being totally impractical. You can’t even cluck and scratch – and now you think you can fly someday?” the chickens chided. “When will you grow up and join the pecking order of this chicken coop? Why can’t you be more like your peers? What’s wrong with you?”
The young eagle was shamed and disheartened. He felt hopeless and alone as he fell asleep that night.
Days later, to his delight, he spotted the soaring bird and this time it let out the cry of an eagle. The moment the young eagle raised by the chickens heard this cry, something unexpected happened. His body lurched uncontrollably – his entire being responded automatically to that eagle’s majestic cry with a powerful eagle cry of his own. He was astonished. “What just happened? Did that glorious sound come from me? Chickens don’t make that sound! Only eagles do … wait a minute… only eagles do!”
The young eagle, finally aware of what he truly was, for the first time stretched out his wings and flew. Before he knew it he was soaring. He was no longer imprisoned by the chicken coop, because he was no longer imprisoned by the idea that he had to be a chicken. Nothing could contain him anymore.
A chicken coop can only coop up chickens; it cannot stop an eagle from soaring.
Most of us have heard of this story but stories like this one must to be told over and over again. Stories like this one sets you on a soul-searching voyage. Most of us simply exist like the eagle in the chicken coop not knowing how to harness the strengths of our irrepressible minds. Most of us don’t even think! We have to imagine. Mokokchung needs young free-spirits, dreamers and innovators. We need entrepreneurs, visionaries and ‘misfits’ who think differently. We have to be the pioneers. We have to find ways to do the old things differently. And we have to do the new things. We have a world to conquer. We have to mount up like the eagle. Or would you chicken out?