Ducks in a Row

Every weekday morning, I make the 17-minute road-trip to The Ohlmann Group from Vandalia, cruising down North Dixie Drive past a cemetery with a beautiful pond.   And several times each month, I watch as the hustle and bustle of morning rush hour traffic on a busy four lane highway comes to a screeching halt for a group of ducks that have collectively decided to make a run – or waddle, of you will – to the local Wal-Mart across the street.

And, as much as I quietly grumble about the delay, I can’t help but enjoy how our hectic world will simply stop for them.   Cars slow to a crawl and stop on both sides of the highway and traffic backs up as the ducks slowly and methodically go about their mission. The ducks don’t care about my morning meeting or road construction or the pile of work that lies waiting on my desk.  I have a feeling that if the ducks had middle fingers, they would likely present them at this point. The ducks are single-mindedly on a team mission that even tons of speeding steel and rubber death can’t deter.  You have to kind of admire that.

Truth is, we can learn a lot of life lessons from ducks.

For instance, I once read that. as each flying duck flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the birds behind. By flying in their trademark “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if one flew alone.  What can your team learn from that?

Ducks in the rear of the formation will honk loudly specifically to encourage those in front to keep up.   How are you motivating those around you?

And of course we all know that ducks make swimming look effortless while, under the surface, it is their frantic paddling that creates the forward progress.  A daily reminder of the importance of hard work and grace under pressure.

So, I watch the parade of ducks waddle across the street and I see this modern world stop.  I see how our seemingly important lives shift into “pause” mode to enjoy something so simple.  I see the graveyard on my right and wonder if there might be some grand revelation that I can take away from this moment of meditation.

And then I remember that ducks have pretty small brains and can’t read crosswalk signs.

Well, traffic’s moving again…better get to work.

 

 

Jim Hausfeld

As Creative Director for The Ohlmann Group, Jim helps guide the vision of their web, print, broadcast, and other creative. In a career spanning over two decades, he’s collected over 100 local, regional, and national advertising awards, including a National ADDY Award and an International Radio and Production RAP Award. Plus once, in a moment of wild abandon, he piloted a blimp.

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