You should be like that little groundhog in your own life? What does that mean?
We’ll get to that, but first – some background.
In the northeast, we are currently enjoying (?) sub zero temperatures and piles of snow (Especially for those in New England, this is one of the worst winters ever.)
This is not unexpected, of course. January and February are usually pretty rough months up north. Even so, it’s no fun shoveling every day and having to wear eighteen layers of clothes. That’s why Groundhog Day gets so much attention, we are hopeful and eager to hear that winter will be coming to an end soon.
For those that are not familiar with Groundhog Day (aside from the excellent 1993 Bill Murray/Harold Ramis movie) it’s a holiday that has its basis in an ancient Christian ceremony called Candlemas, or the blessing of the candles. February 2nd used to mark the end of the holiday season, since it falls exactly 40 days after Christmas. According to legend, if you still have your holiday decorations up after February 2nd, you’ll have bad luck throughout the year (and your neighbors probably won’t be too happy with you, either.)
German immigrants to Pennsylvania in the 1800s brought their tradition of Candlemas celebrations to the new world, including the curious custom of watching a groundhog (or badgers, back in Europe) on Candlemas morning to see how they behave as they emerged from their burrow.
Supposedly, if the sky is cloudy and gloomy, the groundhog will stay outside and survey the land. This means that winter will soon come to an end. If it is bright and sunny, the animal will see its shadow, get scared, and go right back in the hole. That means that we will have six more weeks of gloomy winter.
Do you see the flaw in the logic there?
If it’s gloomy, the groundhog optimistically predicts that winter will be over. If it’s sunny then he says winter will stick around. The groundhog defies common sense, what the actual weather is telling him, and goes with his own gut.
And millions listen to him.
That’s the lesson we should all take from our little furry friend; Don’t always follow the conventional wisdom. When things seem the gloomiest, choose instead to see bright skies ahead. When things are bright and sunny, slow down a bit, appreciate where you are and then go back to business.
People might think you are mistaken, or that you are headed for disaster, but you should just stick to your gut instinct and march to your own beat. Do that often enough, and people will start following your lead.
If it works for the groundhog, why not for you?