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Gentleness is a choice

Let’s talk about animals.

It all started from a trip to Auckland Zoo with my friends a few weeks ago. As we were planning the trip in a group chat, one of my friends came up with an idea. To choose an animal that we would like to represent ourselves as the group alias.

This reminded me of the topics we covered in “Organisational Leadership and Strategy lectures”. Which demonstrated that people have different personalities and styles of doing things, which determines how they play their roles in the business world. Sometimes, we can use different species of animals to categorise each type of our working styles. But of course, I didn’t think one characteristic could represent people's behaviours to their full extent of 100%. In most cases, one specific animal representative would be a characteristic that is most dominant then there would be other animals that represent secondary and/or tertiary characteristics.

I was surprised by how different people's choices were in terms of animal selections. We came up with a mix of lions, owls, octopus, bees, and bears. I chose the giraffe.

Thus, I want to talk about animals. Giraffes, to be specific.

Giraffe with Scarf 丨Designer Yimeng Wang丨Painter Kun Lu

I was not a fan of giraffes as a child. I wouldn’t choose the giraffe to represent my characteristics back then. I wanted to be a leopard or a lion instead. And I still remember the time when I saw a giraffe in a documentary on television the first time. I questioned: "why is the TV playing at 0.5x speed? And why does it have to split its legs to drink water? (I even used this pose to name to a yoga pose)."

Reflecting now, it was the trait of gentleness that fascinated me the most from the giraffes. They were slow, but they were steady and patient. And they were so graceful. Even their necking (an elaborate ritualised fight between two male giraffes) looked like collaborative clapping of their necks.

How marvellous is this world? Changing a kid from a lion to a giraffe. However, a giraffe may be born with gentleness, but gentleness is an act of choice for us humans.Nowadays, people tend to follow individualism and being defensive to each other. Human’s lack of empathy has made "empathy" a hot word within a century (The Atlantic, 2015).

It is probably time for us to reflect, mimic the animals, fighting for all things good. Like a warrior. Let the desire to support the utmost good of ourselves and others become the central theme of our lives.


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