A good friend who is just leaving the safety of a very secure job with unassailable prospects for riskier ventures, says this..

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush…a platitude.

Much as the good intention of this proverb at teaching contentment is appreciated, I believe this is a fundamentally flawed way of thinking.

I will explain my position with examples:

Economic example:

The bird in your hand is a robin. How can it be worth two golden Falcons that are in the bush? Your sense of economic value must be flawed if you believe your robin is worth two Falcons.

Spiritual example:

The bird in your hand is the world. Why then do you sacrifice the pleasures of this world in order to seek heaven which is not even a physical bush? I know this is going into the deep end but the spiritually enlightened will understand it anyway. The beautiful afterlife (your two birds in the bush) is certainly worth more than the bird in hand (this world with all its glamour). If you can’t relate to this (spiritual segment) by logic, just accept it by faith.

So what do you really do with the bird in hand? My suggestions…

1. Release the bird in hand and quickly go after the birds in the bush. Who knows, you may even find there are not just two birds in the bush but there may be ten or hundred or more…

(Meaning: Take The Risk… Explore New Territories…You May Discover Pleasant Surprises!)

2. Put the bird in hand safely in a cage and then go hunting for the birds in the bush…

(Meaning: Enjoy The Present Moment But Don’t Lose Sight Of Bigger Opportunities…Ahead!)

3. Take good care of the bird in hand but search for a mating pair and then facilitate their reproduction…

(Meaning: Add Value In Your Present Engagement. If Those Before You Didn’t Add Value, You Will Not Be Holding Onto It Right Now!)

Okay, may be I forgot to mention the thorns and wild beasts you may encounter in the bush. In the end, it’s a matter of balancing between your faith and your fears.

In closing, I will say never take anything at face value …not even this treatise

My response:

Good one. This could be a matter of perspective. You can see a glass as half full or half empty depending on whether you are pouring from, or into. One perspective is not necessarily the correct one

A bird in hand being worth a thousand in the bush talks about valuing what you have (not necessarily losing sight of greater opportunities that may / may not be out there). The saying, I believe, is not canvassing for indolence / lethargy or self satisfaction, but emphasizes the saying that “he who chases two rats would probably end up catching none”.

A rolling Stone gathers little moss.

Of course, letting go of certainty for uncertainty (like quitting a paid job in a stable system to launch out in the murky piranha infested world of business) is a matter of one’s appetite for risk. And I need to add that, risk taking just for adventurism of what MAY be out there is a matter of craving the anticipated reward more than fearing the risks of the unknown.

I would say, yes, “a bird in hand is worth more than several in the bush” – (as you don’t have those ones in the bush captive YET).

But then, the greatest achievers and greatest failures are the risk takers who always believe the birds are many more in the bush..

Yes, platitudes are a dime a dozen anf need to be critically appraised.

Besides, Popular Wisdom Is Often Plain Stupidity

Your thoughts?


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