A thoroughly wonderful and charming friend of mine, Paul, introduced me to a new saying, which I am going to share with you.
“The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.”
Once you get over the macabre mental image (snap!), you realize this makes more sense than shock value. I spent the first 24 years of my life trying to be the early bird, jumping through countless hoops to benefit anyone who asked. Early Bird Heller shows up and gets it done!
I was cleaning out the baby’s room (I’m not nesting per se – Jon bought me a bunch of gigantic Tupperware on the condition I would clean up my art supplies) and I found a hefty binder entitled The Master Plan. This was not a joke. It contained resumes, contact lists, information about management consulting as a career and recommendations, schedules and applications for 5 major business schools.
I created that tome prior to working at my last job, where I learned that being the early bird may SOUND good, but all you actually get is a worm. Far better to hang around a bit and wait for the cheese.
Nowadays, I still jump through hoops, but I like to check and make sure there isn’t a better method of transportation. Also, I like to confirm whatever I’m jumping towards will be beneficial before I make the leap. Taking that extra moment to assess the situation helps to focus my efforts and reduces wasted energy.
In short, being the early bird is okay, but being the second mouse is better. Learning from the mistakes of others so as not to repeat them is never a bad thing. Not that I really enjoy eating on the bodies of my dead comrades, but you know, cheese beats worm or decapitation anytime.
Cartoon credit: Savage Chickens