“Never try to teach a pig to sing: it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.”
~Paul Dickson

The visual (or audio) of a singing pig cracks me up.

And yet, how much time and effort do we waste on trying the impossible? On trying to teach someone to do something that they can’t (or desperately don’t want to) do? On trying to get water from a stone?

Years ago someone shared the analogy with me of trying to blow out a light bulb. You huff and puff, and it still stays on. And you hyperventilate.

And think about how much it annoys the pig. Your poor pig just wants to wallow in the mud, maybe. Or eat her slop. You trying to teach her something she doesn’t want to do, can’t do, and wasn’t born to do simply annoys her. A lot.

Think of how much more efficiently you can use your time by focusing on the possible. And the important. And how much more successful you can be.

The thing is, that I’ve noticed, that when we’re caught up in teaching our pig to sing, we have somehow convinced ourselves that our pig can sing. Or that we’ll be really really wealthy if we can get our pig to sing. I’ve noticed my clients believing the impossible and therefore not be willing to give it up. I’ve noticed them wanting to get their “pig” to sing.

And again, their “pig” gets really annoyed.

Let’s aim for the possible, even if we aim for the stars. Let’s teach our would-be singers to sing and our pigs to slurp and wallow.

Let’s stop annoying our pigs.

When have you tried to teach a pig to sing? How did it work out?
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If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For guidance in leaving your “pigs” alone, contact Lisa at lkohn@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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