A Tale of Two Frogs

Somewhere in Sub-Saharan Africa, somewhere along the savannah belt, a forest once full of life and green shrubs was hit by a shift in weather. It had been raining season, and suddenly, the rains stopped falling, the grasses started withering and the river of water once full of aquatic life began to dry up. In seasonal shift’s like this, animals and birds with foresight, are not really caught unawares, they know to start making alternative arrangements before all the opportunities for survival closes in on them.

There were two frogs who found themselves partners from the fact that their families had somehow been displaced by the search for literal greener pastures, and these two frogs were forced upon each other. One was young and inexperienced while the other was much older and had experienced many weather changes.

There is a proverb I once stumbled upon, I believe of African origin, that says “Little bits of grass tell an elephant hunter which way the wind is blowing.” This literally means, even if you are hunting animals as big as the elephant, you must learn to have small indicators that help you stay ahead of the trends. The moment they started seeing some of the signs that predate a draught, these frogs first recognised that they could not survive where they were, so they set a clear goal for themselves about finding greener pastures.

For these two frogs, their why was not too unique. The natural propensity of life is to sustain itself. The primary motivation of the animal kingdom as well as the flora kingdom is survival. The survival instinct is the force that rules the jungle. For example, extremely few animals have sex for pleasure, it’s mostly all about procreation.

So, these two frogs that I will refer to as Boghart (older male) and Jelly (younger female) for easy recollection set out in search of greener pastures. Their action plan was simple; find the more perceptive creatures like birds and insects, watch where they were going and simply follow them. Birds and winged creatures have an advantage, they can cover long distances faster, and wherever they were heading is likely to be more data driven for results. It wouldn’t be wise to follow a tortoise for three months and get to their destination only to discover they went there to hibernate.

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Boghart and Jelly ran over their plan, this plan involved travelling light, travelling together, hopping all day, and finding a cool spot to rest all night. Yes, frogs are predators to insects, but there are other creatures that feed on frogs too. An African proverb says that the person others are watching should refrain from watching.

Jelly asked Boghart, “how will we know if we have gotten to where we are going? Are there any landmarks to identify that we have gotten to location, or do we just keep hopping?” Boghart smiled wryly, “Of course not, we are only going to keep hopping until we see fresh clean water sufficient enough to support our stay around it.

Like all goals that would be achieved, it’s not enough to have a blueprint and a strategy for achieving them, the rubber must meet the road. The best laid plan without implementation is totally useless. Boghart and Jelly decided to implement their plan, and hopped, hopped and hopped. They hopped all day, rested at night and kept in the same general direction that aligned with the birds and the flying insects.

With Boghart’s experience and Jelly’s curiosity, they made a good company and advanced through the savannah en-route the rain forest. Hours rolled into days, and days into weeks, as Jelly began to ask with regularity, “Are we there yet?”. Boghart’s answer was always full of hope and assurance, “No we are not, but we are nearer now”. They hopped and hopped until at last Jelly saw a pool of water, with excitement Jelly croaked loudly, “This is water at last!”. Boghart simply took a glance and smiled, “That’s no water, that’s a mirage”. It’s an optical illusion caused by sunlight and heat.

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Eventually, both frogs had hopped for days and grown weary. Both Boghart and Jelly were now beginning to doubt if they will make it, as if they don’t find water soon enough, they will pass out. Just at about the time they were going to give up hope, Jelly suddenly sighted a well full to the brim and gushing with water. This was clearly a miracle, as it was water, and it was just in time. Like long distance runners who suddenly get a kick of adrenalin just at the end of their race, Boghart and Jelly ran desperately towards the well with all they had. They had nothing left in the race as they went toe to toe towards the well. Jelly was clearly in the lead, but suddenly Boghart pushed harder, took the lead, got to the well, waited for Jelly to come around and as soon as Jelly jumped to go in, Boghart reached out and blocked her from getting inside. Exasperated and frustrated Jelly yelled at Boghart “Why are you stopping me from jumping inside? Is this not the water we have been longing for?“

Boghart, now regaining his breath muttered quietly to Jelly – “This well is really deep, and full of water, exactly what we need to quench our thirst, but wait, we can get inside this well today and have the time of our lives. What happens if the well, for reasons like why we are here, dries up, how will we come out?” Wow, Jelly realized she had not thought it through, she had not seen that the fact that something is exciting today does not indicate that it will continue like that. Wisdom in planning is asking -“ If this, what next?”

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Eventually, Boghart and Jelly found their new home in a place with abundant water beaming with aquatic life and green pastures. Their simple plan had worked, and they lived happily ever after.

What lessons in planning can we learn from Boghart and Jelly?

  1. Disruptions are normal, it’s good to set new goals each new season.
  2. Keep your eye on the trends – a good plan needs data.
  3. Be clear on your “why”, we all have internal motivations, find yours, and let it fuel your plan.
  4. Know who to follow and who not to follow, having guidance is leverage
  5. Be data driven – analyse the available data and go with what it tells you.
  6. Have a blueprint – there are many bus-stops before the destination.
  7. Set key milestones to track progress and completion. Be clear enough so you don’t get side-tracked by mirage.
  8. Act and monitor progress.
  9. Think ahead, don’t only ask how to go in, think about how to get out.
  10. Once you reach a destination, take lessons from the process and use it to adjust your future.

Planning is important for all aspects of life – Your relationships, your finances, your business, your ministry, etc.
Every aspect of life that you intend to achieve success, needs a plan.
Are you ready to plan?
Get the steps in place, and “follow who know road”.

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