You can only be better than you
Ever notice how nasty and competitive the animal world is? It’s you vs. you. Stop worrying about if you’re better than everyone else and just worry about being better than yourself.
“Well we did it this way at our facility.” “You should feed after every bridge, it’s the best way to do it.” “Variable reinforcement leads to better behavior.” “Oh them, their animals aren’t even station trained.” “Did you see they were walking a cheetah on a pinch collar.” “Did you hear they were using a bird to take donations from a guest.” “We don’t have jesses on any of our raptors, they have choice.”
It’s a good thing we’re not all the same. It’s also excellent that we’re constantly working to be better as an industry. Let us remember: you can only be better than yourself.
What Sally’s doing over at her facility may look on the surface like “worse” than what Jimmy is doing as his, but really it’s just different. We all have different circumstances, staff, animals, situations, pressures, requirements, rules, and well it would be a much shorter list if we just focused on what’s the same.
We all need to focus a little more on being the best we can be and less on being better than everyone else. Forgive people for their mistakes, acknowledge that it’s okay if they do something different than us.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for best practices, but let’s take into account that some places might be working towards those within the means of their abilities, philosophies, and all the other things listed above.
Let’s talk a minute about why this happens….my least favorite word to hear in an interview…. PASSION. This field has so much passion it’s spewing out your eyeballs. It’s also what’s blinding you from being able to see past the tip of your nose that’s way up in the air.
Likely you’ve invested a lot of time into a particular project, animal, effort, etc. You’ve perfected it, you’ve analyzed it, you’ve changed it. It’s just right, it’s perfect. Why then isn’t everyone else on the planet doing it like you?
Because they aren’t you!!!!!
But if they could only do it like you it would make things so much better for them, so much easier for them. Wait for it….
You might be wrong. Someone else might have a better way or a different way. GASP!
You’re probably thinking to yourself, “I’m so open-minded. I agree, everyone has their own way of doing things.” I hope that’s true, but take a look at some of the feeds on various facebook pages or stand in the back of a room at a conference and you’ll find we all suffer from the weakness of judging. We can be better!
Download our guide to an open mind here!5 Steps to an open mind (11 downloads)