Perhaps instead of a paper airplane, our logo should feature an octopus. Apparently, they are fantastic Escape Artists.
My friend Sara, an Escape Artist in her own right, recently shared an article about a daring nighttime escape from a New Zealand Aquarium by an octopus named Inky.
After busting through an enclosure, the nimble contortionist appears to have quietly crossed the floor, slithered through a narrow drain hole about six inches in diameter and jumped into the sea. Then he disappeared.
Pretty neat story, but I’m interested in Blotchy. Mentioned only once in the article, Blotchy was the tank-mate of Inky, described as the “less independence-minded octopus” who remained behind.
Why didn’t he join Inky on the breakout?
Clearly, the adventure was not without peril. What if he doesn’t make it to the drain? What if he can’t find food? What if he gets eaten by a shark?
Meanwhile, Blotchy was (and continues to be) free from danger and enjoys free shelter, free food, and free medical care. He’s got a lot of things going for him, but at the end of the day, he’s still in a tank.
Turns out the only thing not free is Blotchy himself.
The marine biologists in the story were not particularly surprised that Inky escaped, because octopuses are known for their strength, dexterity and intelligence. But a human wrote the story, and made Inky the headline. After all, what Blotchy did isn’t news. He did what most people do.
Humans strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains. It’s easy to stay put, especially when things have become safe and comfortable, even if it means ignoring the true nature of who we were created to be.
In our preference to avoid losing what we have, we are actually losing something even more valuable: opportunity.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Mark Twain
No doubt about it. Inky took a big risk. But now he is free.
Meanwhile, I can’t help but imagine Blotchy spending every day wondering…“What if?”
Is it time to make your move?
Helen Meissner says
Wonderful, I am often a Blotchy wishing I was brave enough to be an Inky.
I presume all of us are, at least in some ways, Helen!
Hmmm. I wonder how long Inky and Blotchy were residents at the aquarium. Perhaps length of time “in the tank” conditioned Blotchy from being curious and leaving that comfort zone…Inky freedom may be a foreign concept. Or perhaps Inky talked too much and the silence was welcomed ;-)
Ha ha, that’s an interesting question to ponder, Pete!
I’m loving your life lessons in bit-sized story format. This one, also the one about productivity (but from the perspective of a child). I think change is always hard and scary. Also, I think we need Inky’s in this world who encourage their Blotchy’s to join them on the adventure.
Thanks Marielle! I agree with you on all of it!
Amy Boardman says
I love this blog post – such a simple but effective way of proving risks can pay off. I have been pondering some life changes recently and will admit that I often stick to the ‘safe option’ although I really want to branch out. Thanks for this small but significant piece as it’s certainly made me think more about my options.
So happy to hear that, Amy! Thanks for sharing. :)