The Parable of the Joyful Early Bird

Jonathan Chew
Aug 16, 2017 · 5 min read

Tired Tom was always a sleepy head. He was just one of those birds that could never (for the life of him) wake up early, pull himself out of his warm cozy nest, and get the good first catches of worms.

His friend Mary Mournins always had a cheer about her. She wasn’t necessarily the earliest bird that got up, but even if she did wake up late, she was always filled with joy and had a smile on her face.

On one particularly late morning, Tom was grumpier than ever. He flew out to the nearby field and searched and searched, but there were NO worms to be found and thus he had to go the entire morning without eating any breakfast.

He spotted Mary chatting with some other birds and tidying her nest and decided to go over and see what she was talking about, and maybe what her secret was to always staying so chipper.

…yes, and if I hadn’t changed my morning routine… and the questions I asked myself when I got up… I would have continued being my same old tired self…” Tom overheard her say.

Oh really?!” said one of her friends, “Can you tell us what the questions are that you first ask yourself?

Question 1: “What am I happy about in my life?”

Yes! The moment I wake up, I think about what I’m most joyful for about my life right now and all those wonderful things that happened yesterday or the day before that really brought me joy and made me feel alive!

“But what if you have nothing you can be happy about in your life right now?” Tom chimed in…

Mary looked at Tom, and without missing a beat said, “Well, then I would think… What could I be happy about in my life?

And just that initial thought, Tom started thinking about all the dreams he once had when he was a young bird. He thought about the fact that he had been able to achieve most of the things he had set out to do. He was able to live in a nice warm cozy nest, he was surrounded by good friends, and was doing quite well in health…

Question 2: “What am I excited about?”

Mary exclaimed, “After I think of what I’m happy about, then this next question really gets my heart thumping faster because I just think of all the exciting things that I get to look forward to… not just in my day, or the next 12 hours before I go back to sleep, but maybe next month, or even next year!”

Tom, thought for a second, “Wow, I guess I really do have a lot that is coming to be excited about… I mean, me and my buddies were planning a cruise… not just any cruise, one where we would be able to sit on the top deck and fly around uninhibited by anything… Gosh… that sounds so exciting!”

He also had looked forward to going to theme parks where he could eat all the delicious food that had fallen to the ground and all the fun lakes and bodies of water to sit in! He could chat with the ducks and make new friends. Who needed worms with all that going on?!

Question 3: “What am I proud of in my life right now?”

When Mary said this question, Tom got really excited. He had just earned “Top Flyer” for the new club he had joined, one that celebrates speed and efficiency. How could he have forgotten that proud moment when his parents were there and smiled so proudly back at him for having accomplished one of his dreams to be part of something that helped all birds learn how to fly better and be the best versions of themselves.

How could he have been so selfish and think that catching the early worm was all that mattered in life when there was so much more that his life amounted to? So much more in life that he could bring in terms of value and impact to society around him and all the hard work he had put in to get to where he was. He had a beautiful nest home in a nice safe neighborhood and had mentored so many young birds to go onto greatness. There was so much for him to be proud of!

Question 4: “What am I grateful for?”

Then, after all that, Mary continued, I really sit down and have this moment of gratitude. Three minutes of gratitude. Where I just look around me, if I’m flying high and soaring around, and notice all the beautiful surroundings I’m in, and then I think of my children and how grateful I am to have them. I feel grateful that I’m alive and even have my wings which allow me to fly. My feet which allow me to stand, and my beak which allows me to eat.

I am so grateful for my family and my friends who make every day so filled with laughter and variety. The fun things I get to do every day because we live in such a great age and time.

Question 5: “Who do I love and who loves me?”

Finally, Mary came to the final question, and this one really struck a chord with Tom. He had been single for so long that he never had stopped to think about who had actually loved him. His parents for one had always unconditionally loved and supported him in every endeavor he decided to pursue. And his friends who had helped him through some of the tough times were of course always there within his heart. He loved all of them with a deep caring love and that gave him such a warm feeling.

When he thought of all of these things, a grin came to his heart, and warmth filled his wings and he soared inside in ways he had never felt before. He sighed, and thought of one more bird he loved. When he looked up, his eyes met Mary’s and they both smiled because they knew they had the same thought.

Call to Action

Ask yourself these 5 questions whenever you wake up. You can make this your 15 minutes to fulfillment. You can journal and write down your thoughts. You will have a brighter outlook on the future and more positive day because you asked better questions.

Better Humans

Better Humans is a collection of the world's most trustworthy writing on human potential and self improvement by coaches, academics, and aggressive self-experimenters. Articles are based on deep personal experience, science, and research. No fluff, book reports, or listicles.

Jonathan Chew

Written by

Disney Imagineer. Startup enthusiast. Sci-Fi/Self-Help novelist on a mission to build a Positopian world. Follow me @JonathanGChew or go to:

Better Humans

Better Humans is a collection of the world's most trustworthy writing on human potential and self improvement by coaches, academics, and aggressive self-experimenters. Articles are based on deep personal experience, science, and research. No fluff, book reports, or listicles.

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