When you are facing a specific goal, make sure to chase only one rabbit. When you face a larger goal, make sure to run after the whole flock!
Encompassed by glamour and flashy sights, constantly tangled between the opportunities and decisions that face us in every passing day, we make it exceedingly easy for ourselves to be failed collectors of the things we want. Time seems to be ever expanding as we see what the world has offered to others, while we remain heedless of own candle-string growing shorter with every passing second – perhaps to glow brighter in the future, but ever shorter nonetheless. Our lifetimes are an unavoidable bottleneck of passions, plans, and dreams, where it becomes a constant struggle for us to balance between the optimistic promises of future success and happily ever after, and attempts to ground ourselves in the less extraordinary realities evident around us.
Chasing a dream may sometimes seem like chasing a rabbit: the faster we chase, the more determination it develops toward escape, and the easier it is to slip away. At the shock of our disillusionment of straightforward success, we vacillate tirelessly between the route of continually chasing more, and that of fearing that what we already have will someday abandon us. These are the two rabbits mentioned in the Russian proverb: “If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one.” If chasing one dream is hard enough, imagine the struggle of chasing two.
When asked about that which is most important to him, Captain Silva of the Sea gave a childlike smile and responded, “It is the moment of now, and something else which I do not yet know of.” This response is interesting, as how can he chase that which is already in his grasp? He is excited not about what he knows, but about venturing yet where he has never before and attaining what he has never had. Chasing two rabbits, therefore, is like sailing against the wind. We must first jump from the ledge in which we find our safety in order to explore and illuminate the dark waters that contain the treasure that we so desire. And perhaps its the treasure within that we are truly in search for…
Chasing two rabbits leaves us stuck, trapped in our own indecision, reducing our effort to a mere illusions of progress. Sprinting in one direction, we quickly lose sight of our target. In a split-second judgement, we resolve to chase a second, closer specimen, only to realise that it is faster and more agile than the first leaving our solid resolve dissolved in a sea of frustration. If only we stuck with our initial chase – now both rabbits are out of reach.
That is, however, only if the rabbit itself is the goal. Suppose for a second that we forget about the bunnies and do what we have continually been told not to: continually changing course running after the closer rabbit. This time, however, we have let go of the desire to actually catch one – we are in it, as it were, for the chase. With this, we are never left disappointed or dissatisfied, for in every lost chase lies another to replace it. Before long, though we have not caught a single rabbit, we have found nevertheless a prize that lies beyond, what the rabbits unwittingly lead us to: the colony (technical name for group of rabbits).
We only feel we are working when we are worried. We are constantly on the lookout for the option that offers the most return for the least effort. Many a time, however, most of our growth happens behind the lines, when we are not looking. True progress, therefore, is never judged by how much we think about or long for the results, but instead by how little we want them compared to how much we enjoy the chase. Our focus often lies in the rabbit that is far away. Switching our focus to the rabbit that seems closer, it turns out to be further than we imagined, and leads us down a rabbit hole. If we stay still enough, however, then perhaps a rabbit will take interest in us, and come and have a sniff at our feet.