There was once a swamp that was completely encircled by a large, formidable stone wall. The frogs in this swamp had never seen beyond the wall. For generations there was speculation as to what was on the “other side.” One day the chief frog decided to organize a race that would culminate in a leap up the wall that would, once and for all, settle the argument as to what lay beyond the wall.
The day of the race came and five of the bravest, strongest frogs lined up at the starting line. A sixth, a latecomer known as Thumper, quietly joined the others. Thumper, in contrast to the five other contestants, wasn’t much to look at. He was thin, frail, and altogether rather sickly looking. The six frogs crouched at the starting line waiting for the race to begin. The chief’s gun sounded and the race was on!
[Before continuing with this story, you should know that frogs are terrible pessimists prone to doubt, incessant fears, and unbounded negativity. It’s a fact.]
As the competitors raced toward the wall (with Thumper trailing far behind), the pessimistic, hysterical spectator frogs began to scream and howl, “Stop, don’t do it, you’ll get hurt! You’ll kill yourselves! Stop now!” As the race progressed and the crowd’s warnings continued, one by one, the now leery frogs began to drop out of the race until only one frog was left, Thumper. Thumper, undeterred, approached the wall and with a mighty leap, almost made it to the top. As he hung on for dear life, the crowd was becoming frantic, yelling, “What if you can’t hold on?” “Drop down, we’ll catch you.” “Don’t be a fool, you can’t make it!”
But Thumper was determined. Inch by inch he kept climbing...higher...higher, until he reached the top of the wall. And it was at this point that Thumper became the first frog in the history of the swamp to ever see beyond the wall!
The reason Thumper was able to succeed where no other frog had was because Thumper was deaf!
Excerpt from my new book Unlearning Anxiety & Depression (coming this Fall)