Success — Taught Through The Actions of a Lion

Looking To The Animal Kingdom For Tough Lessons

Sean Kernan
Oct 9, 2019 · 3 min read
Unsplash Keyur Nandaniya

When a young lion is cast out of the pride to fend for himself, he faces a steep learning curve.

His years of easy meals from his mother and aunts will continue no longer.

Now, he must hunt for himself.

He’s learned the basics from prior generations. But only the bare basics. His hunts will sputter along for some time. Many of his hunts, will be laughable.

He won’t time his sprints correctly. His sprints will begin far outside of the range of his endurance.

He’ll trip over brush. He’ll trip over his own feet.

He’ll foolishly tackle the alpha bull of the herd, getting shaken off like a bad habit.

He’ll wear himself out trying to chase too-fast prey.

Many of his attempts will get him dinged up and bloodied.

He’ll stumble into enemy territory and, if he is lucky, escape with his life.

He’ll stalk too loudly, crunching on loud brush. His hiding spots will be inadequate.

His choice of prey will seem devoid of any logic.

A long list of mistakes will puncture each of his hunting attempts.

He will be reminded of those mistakes as his stomach groans and his juicy prey gallops away.

A thousand generations of evolution will chant: Eat or die. Kill or die. Eat or Die. Kill or die.

Hunting is his singularity, it defines his existence. Every move, every skill, every ounce of effort, revolves around his next kill.

Until he dies or until he eats, he will not relent.

He will eventually get kills. And with each attempt and each kill, he will improve.

He will better time his sprints. He will pick better angles. He will master the geometry of an effective ambush.

He will recognize unfavorable terrain. He will recognize the scent of enemy males. He will draw the lines of territory in his mind. Lines to avoid. Lines of certain death.

His experience will bring recognition. And with that recognition, competency.

He’ll learn to watch the movement of prey, to notice the fluidity of their steps, watching for limps, staggers, fatigue. He will learn to judge the confidence of their posture.

His sharpening eye for weakness will be paired with an increasing capacity for violence.

His legs and back will become stronger. His coordination will improve.

His mane will fill in. His fighting prowess will grow as he learns to use his teeth and claws.

Scars will form on his face and body. They will be visible signals, invitations to oncoming challengers:

“Come — let us speak in the language we know best.”

Unsplash @matthew Kerslake

No longer a cub. No longer weak.

He can now hunt. He can now fight. He is ready. He will not die. He will live.

A young male lion has one goal: to eat.

This pursuit, born of necessity, demands well-honed savagery.

Everything he does, every skill, every competency, is a result of pursuing that goal.

When a lion fails a hunt, he extracts only useful information from that failure, and then, he moves forward to his next attempt.

There is no self-pity for failed hunts.

There is no comparing his hunting prowess to that of others.

A lion’s mentality toward success offers a useful lesson to our own goals and path forward.

Treat success as your only option and you won’t even notice the failures. You will only get better.

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Sean Kernan

Written by

*New to Medium* Columnist for Publishous. Quora Top Writer 2018. Quora People’s Choice Award 2017. — People say I’m nice. And my mom thinks I’m cool. —

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