Posted in General, Management, Personal Development

A lion, a cow, a horse…WWYD?

1. Answer the following questions on a separate sheet of paper.

2. When you are done, click on “Check Your Answers” (below).

You are in a desert. You have with you the following five animals:

  • A lion
  • A cow
  • A horse
  • A sheep
  • A monkey

To escape the desert you are going to have to get rid of one of your animals. Which one do you drop? (You can use whatever logic you like BUT keep track of which animal is discarded when!)

You have 4 animals left. The desert is burning up! It goes on for miles. Sand is everywhere. You realize, to get out, you are going to have drop another animal. Which do you drop?

You have 3 animals left. Walk, walk, walk. Hot, hot, hot. Disaster! The Oasis that you were looking for is dried up! You have no choice but to drop another animal.

You have 2 animals left. Ok, it’s a long hot walk. You can see the edge of the desert way on the horizon. Unfortunately, you can only leave the desert with ONE animal. Which one do you drop and which one do you keep?

Before checking your answers, make sure you know which animal you dropped in what order




*Don’t cheat… do it



These answers are based on Japanese Archetypes. The desert represents a hardship. The animals represent . . .

  • Lion = Pride
  • Monkey = Your children
  • Sheep = Friendship
  • Cow = Basic needs
  • Horse = Your passion

So, in the face of hardship, you will sacrifice each of these things in turn. Your last animal represents that thing which you cling to at the expense of all others.

Now whether this is true or not, there is an underlying truth that is worth considering.

When people are faced with a challenge – or even a simple change, they have a ‘default’ behaviour. This default behaviour has likely developed over a long period of time, and through positive reinforcement, the behaviour becomes deeply embedded.

As business people we are facing some challenging times.

We all have to honestly question how we respond to those challenges – and in particular, how we always respond to challenges.

If you find that your response is typically negative or typically positive or typically anything – take a step back and re-think.

It may be a cliché, but it holds true: If the only tool you have is a hammer, every challenge looks like a nail.

Those habitual, ingrained responses; especially the ones we have learned to justify to ourselves, is what stands between innovating ourselves out of this mess we find ourselves in.

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