Lessons from the Geese

October 14, 2003

Life is an experience in learning.  We learn from our parents.  We learn from our teachers.  We learn from our friends.  Sometimes, though, the best lessons, are found in nature.  Have you ever noticed the geese?  Their winter migration is an awesome sight; thousands of these fabulous creatures take flight and head south to warmer climates each Fall.  If you watch them closely, you'll notice that the migration is a team effort.  There is an interdependence in the way geese function and we can learn from their example.

As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an "uplift" for the bird following.  By flying in a "V" formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.  People can lift one another in a similar way.  When we share a common direction and sense of purpose, we get where we are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to fly alone.  It quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the "lifting power" of the bird immediately in front.  If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are headed where we want to go.

When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies at the point position.  It pays for us too, to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership—people, as with geese, are interdependent with each other.

The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.  We too need to make sure our "noises" from behind are encouraging and not something less helpful.

When a goose gets sick or wounded or shot down, two geese drop out of formation to follow it down to help and protect it.  They stay with it until it is either able to fly again or dies.  Then they launch out on their own with another formation or catch up with their flock.  If we have as much sense as the geese, we will always stand by each other.

We can learn many lessons in life from the geese.  As you travel home this evening, ask yourself, "What lessons have I learned?"

Good night, gentlemen.