Lessons from Cats

What can we learn from cats?

While dogs are considered man’s best friend, cats are professionals.  The first thing they will do when introduced into a new environment is they will explore it very thoroughly.  They don’t like surprises, and they like to know as much as they can.  For professionals, especially those that have to interact with others and potentially need to use force this is a great habit to practice.  This is also great because in order to truly get the benefit, we need to slow down and register different places, routes, hazards, etc.  This plays a huge role in diminishing hypervigilance.  The more we know, the less we stress as we have more information.  Slow down, analyze, and make contingencies.  This can feel like a chore though, so it helps to look at it as a game.  “How would I set up an ambush?”  “What’s a good escape route?” “Where are the best observation points?” If they are not hunting, they like to play hunt.  Like a professional committed to being the best, cats have a very single-minded focus.  They want to catch the thing.  They want to keep getting better at catching the thing.  We had a small animatronic dog.  When it got turned on, the cat would scope it out, stalk it a bit, and see if the toy would react to it.  When the toy dog appeared to be oblivious and not caring, the cat pounced on it from the rear, biting into its neck.  They won’t play fetch, but they will chase after the ball and try to catch it in motion.  Being professional means understanding that certain skillsets are perishable.  Therefore we need to keep practicing to maintain them.  We need to be the best at our job or function as the stakes are quite high.  If it helps, try not to look at it as a chore or slog.  Making things into a game encourages play, curiosity, and continuous development.  Understand the types of people we interact with and train appropriately and in proper context. They sleep most of the day.  We don’t do enough of this.  Studies and stats are everywhere on the effects of chronic sleep deprivation.  This many problems with normal functions of the body systems.  A few examples are: memory impairment, higher levels of irritability, trouble focusing, weakened immune system, general tiredness, weight gain due to hormone imbalances, lower sex drive, overeating, etc.  These are all some pretty serious imbalances.  It comes down to the question of are these extra episodes, or videogames worth playing into the late hours of the night?  The importance of not skimping on sleep serves to better refine what is a priority and what is not.  A professional, especially in high stakes occupations cannot have margins for error, and problems focusing causes us to miss details.  Those details may be life changing, altering, or ending. Cats may not be as affectionate in some ways as dogs, but they are a great reference point on how to be a good professional.  Study, train, rest.  Never stop learning, never stop training. Recover accordingly. Own the environment by removing as many variables as possible.  View every day as an opportunity to learn something new to gain an advantage.

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