The Smart Frog Always Jumps

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The parable of the frog that is slowly murdered by hanging around in ever increasing hot water is a lie. Don’t believe it. 

You know the fable: If a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out to live a long productive life. But if the frog is put in cool water that is then brought to a boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death.

The test has been performed in labs at great universities as well as by college students in Biology labs to see if the frog will jump when the water frothy. The frog will always jump out of the water as soon as it gets uncomfortable. Turns out frogs may be smarter than some of us who tolerate unbearable situations for too long.

The lesson for us non-amphibians is that we shouldn’t get used to a bad situation. Instead of adjusting to the bad situation we should change it or, like the frog, we will slowly die. We don’t need frogs to tell us we are in a bad situation at work. The lesson that many self-proclaimed gurus talk about is to avoid being like a frog and slowly dying in boiling water. The real lesson is to be exactly like a frog and get the hell out of there. Who wants to suffer?

Another way to think of it is to compare your situation with the frog’s as the water heats up. If you look around your workplace and say to yourself any of these statements, it’s time to jump out of the pot.

  • I am not comfortable with the people I work with; they don’t support me (when the water gets hot.)
  • I don’t believe management when they discuss the state of the company, (or the pot.)
  • I think the financial situation here is precarious and not going to get any better. (It’s getting hotter.)
  • I don’t like my job and it probably won’t change. (the frog knows.)
  • I am not rewarded appropriately and I don’t believe in the comp plan. (the hotter the water, the more I need.)

The frog metaphor is all about change and embracing it.  The frog knows not to settle for mediocrity; to listen to your intuition and pay attention to warning lights and, to make decisions to change. The frog knows life outside of the boiling pot is unknown but life in the pot is miserable.

Who knew lessons from frogs can change a life?

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