Dr. James kwegyir Aggrey, more popularly known as Aggrey of Africa was famous for many of his witty sayings. The most popular being the saying that “if you educate a man you educate an individual but if you educate a woman you educate a whole nation.” Little, however, is known about “the parable of the eagle” he wrote and presented in many of his public discourses.

In the parable, Aggrey told the story of a certain farmer who went through the forest in search of any kind of bird he may find. He caught a young eagle, brought it home and put it among his fowls and ducks and turkeys, and fed it chickens' food even though it was an eagle, the king of birds.

Five years later a naturalist friend came to visit him and, after passing through his barnyard, said, “that bird is an eagle, not a chicken.”

Yes, said the farmer. “It used to be an eagle but I have trained and fed it with chicken feed for so long that it has lost its eaglehood. It is no longer an eagle, but a chicken, even though it measures fifteen feet from tip to tip of its wings.”

No! the naturalist rebutted, “it is an eagle still: it has the heart of an eagle, and I will make it soar high up to the heavens.”

No! the farmer replied, “it is a chicken, and it will never fly.”

They agreed to test it. The naturalist picked up the eagle, held it up, and said with great intensity, “Eagle, thou art an eagle; thou dost belong to the sky and not to this earth; stretch forth thy wings and fly.”

The eagle turned this way and that, and then, looking down, saw the chickens eating their food, and down he jumped.

The farmer in a sarcastic way said: “I told you it was a chicken.”

No, insisted the naturalist, “it is an eagle. Give it another chance tomorrow.”

So the next day he took it to the top of the house and said: “Eagle, thou art an eagle; stretch forth thy wings and fly.” But again the eagle, seeing the chickens feeding, jumped down and fed with them.

The farmer in yet another humor reiterated: “I told you it was a chicken.” But the naturalist insisted that it was an eagle and still has the heart of an eagle. He pleaded with the farmer to give him one more chance to make it fly tomorrow.

The next morning he rose early and took the eagle outside the city, away from the houses, to the foot of a high mountain. The sun was just rising, gilding the top of the mountain with gold, and every crag was glistening in the joy of that beautiful morning.

He picked up the eagle and said to it: “Eagle, thou art an eagle; thou dost belong to the sky and not to this earth; stretch forth thy wings and fly!”

The eagle looked around and trembled as if new life were coming to it, but it did not fly. The naturalist then made it look straight at the sun. Suddenly it stretched out its wings and, with the screech of an eagle, it mounted higher and higher and never returned. It was an eagle, though it had been kept and tamed as a chicken.


Lessons for self-improvement:

The eagle was programmed to the point it completely lost its identity. She assumed the life of a chicken and even declined the opportunity to regain her lost identity when she was first given the chance. It is the same with our human nature.

“Some people grow up in families programmed to believe they can never be successful. And honestly, they never find opportunities that could change their lives.

The worst programmings are the indoctrination that failure and mistakes are bad. In school, they considered you to be brilliant if you scored high marks but dumb if you scored low marks. You get punished for failing and making mistakes. These mental programming are catastrophic in real life. To live your life without making mistakes is a big mistake. It is even worse; if you are continually afraid, you will make one. If you've not failed or made a mistake in a long while, you probably haven't tried something new.

People who don't dare to change their lives are people who are afraid they will fail or make mistakes. They love to remain where they are, even if it costs them their happiness, peace, and progress. Do you know that most people who are afraid of failing have never failed in real life? It is the educational system and upbringing that program them that failure is bad and must be avoided if they want to succeed in life. These programmings had caused them to fail even before they got started. It has caused them to stop taking risks or subjecting themselves to situations that involve failure.

If you want to succeed in life, I want you to understand three things. The first is that "some failures in life are inevitable," as J.k Rowling noted in his quote, "It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all— in which case, you fail by default." It is OK to fail. It means you are trying and exploring. If you have failed before, don't be afraid to fail again. When a person learns well from his failures, his life changes forever. What that person gains instead of experience is wisdom. The bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:19 that, "wisdom makes one wise person more powerful than ten rulers in a city."

The second is that failure is inseparably linked to success. The biggest failures you can find in life are successful people. Successful people know it takes 99 failures to make one win. Losers, on the other hand, expect success in their first trial. A guaranteed way to succeed in life is to fail more. The third is to reprogram your mindset with the belief that mistakes increase your experience and experience decreases your mistakes. Smart employers know the gravity of errors in their businesses. They know employees that have made enough mistakes in their previous jobs and have learned from those mistakes are less likely to repeat them in their new employment. That is why, beyond the academic qualifications, smart employers would typically require job applicants to have a specific minimum number of years of work experience.”-extract ‘The success phenomenon’ PAGE 35, author, Jude Aziz.

There is greatness inside of you but until you cease being content with the chicken feed you will not rediscover yourself. So step out from your past and everything familiar and holding you back, and use the content of this article as an instrument of inspiration to stretch forth your wings and soar high. Become the best you could become.

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Jude Aziz

Physician Assistant, Author, Entrepreneur, Medical Blogger, Life and Business Coach, Founder / CEO peFHEW and Telemed Consult