Do Birds of a Feather Really Flock Together?
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Saturday, August 09, 2014
By Pat B. Freeman
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There is a saying, “Birds of a feather flock together.” But what does it really mean? Well, it doesn't mean that if you hang around someone you should become them. And don't confuse your passion with the passion of others. When you spend time hanging around someone, it’s often because you have similar interests or you just like the person. But it doesn’t’ mean you should continue to fly in the same direction. Let's find out which category you are in by using basketball and skateboarding as our example. 


Basketball and Skateboarding


Basketball and skateboarding are both sports that take a bit of agility, skill, and natural ability to do them well. Yet they are totally different, viewed differently, and typically attract a different group of spectators. I’ll paint a clearer picture for you with this personal example: My youngest son has always been athletically inclined and can catch on to almost any sport -- and can do them well if he puts his heart and mind to it. You may already have an idea of where I’m headed with this. But let’s finish the story anyway. He, my son, has played on a basketball team since around age three. He played recreation ball as a youngster, and played on his middle school and high school teams. Actually, if he had put the extra time (and heart) in it, he would have earned a basketball scholarship to college. At least that was our dream. But it was not his dream.

Pay attention to each flock


In high school, whenever he wasn't playing or practicing basketball with the team, we often wondered why he didn't wear sports attire or practice ball outside of the required training or game time. He definitely did not fit the description of your typical jock. Instead, most of his spare time was spent with skateboarding friends practicing and performing new tricks, or seeking out YouTube videos and different spots around town to further develop his skills. Yes, he enjoyed basketball. But he has a love for skateboarding. And it shows in how he spends his time -- without being prompted to do it. 

“The problem with fitting in is once you’ve done it, where do you go?”


— Seth Godin

Yes, birds of a feather do flock together. But there is a unique design in each bird. It is clear that my son has a heart and a passion for skateboarding. He can do it all day and all night – sometimes having to be reminded to come in. Some of his friends now want to learn skateboarding, and some do it because they like hanging out with him. He has commented that the ones who are just hanging out are not serious about becoming good at it. He says he knows this because they only practice when they're with him.  


So, in conclusion, some birds of a feather do flock together, some are just hanging out, and others will find their own passion and pursue it. 


What about you?  Are you pursuing your passion and building your own dream? Or are you just hanging out with the flock? I’d love to hear your thoughts or personal experience.  Please share in the comments.

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