Surely you have heard or read it at some time. The “painful renewal of the golden eagle” is a popular story told about the renewal process an eagle goes through when it reaches a certain stage in its life.
According to the story, when the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) reaches 40 years of age, its claws become weak and unable to catch prey, its beak curves downward, and its wings become heavy. At this point, the eagle must make a choice: die or face a painful process of renewal.
To renew itself, the eagle must fly to a high mountain and retire in a nest near the top. There, the eagle begins to hit its beak against a rock until it manages to tear it off. Then, wait for a new beak to grow before pulling out its nails. Once the new talons begin to grow, the eagle uses its new talons to pluck out its old feathers. At the end of the process, the eagle is able to fly with renewed strength and live another 30 years.
Lessons from a destroyed peak
This story talks about several lessons to transform:
The importance of renewal
Like the eagle, sometimes we need to give up what no longer serves us and undergo a process of change in order to grow and improve in our lives.
The power of determination and persistence
The eagle’s renewal process is painful and requires time and effort, but the eagle presses forward with determination and persistence to achieve its goal.
the strength of patience
Renewal takes time, and the eagle has to be patient to wait for its beak, talons, and feathers to grow back. In daily life, we also need patience to achieve our goals and objectives.
face the challenges
The eagle does not choose to die when faced with the difficulty of having weak talons and beak, but rather meets the challenge and undergoes the process of renewal. In daily life, we must also face our challenges and not give up on them.
The “painful renewal of the golden eagle” is a myth
Although the story is very inspiring and popular, to the extent that it has been passed down for generations, it is a myth. The story is based on the biological reality of golden eagles.
These animals, like other birds, renew their feathers in a gradual and continuous process called molting. During this change, old feathers are replaced with new ones on a regular basis throughout the bird’s life, allowing them to maintain their ability to fly without significant interruption.
With this in mind, I consulted Gerardo Guerra-Páramo, a science teacher and specialist in wildlife, to learn the true process these majestic birds go through.
“Golden eagles always have to be kept in optimal health; they dedicate a lot of time to caring for their plumage because without it, they simply cannot fly”, says the expert.
In addition, eagles’ talons also naturally wear down and renew themselves as the bird moves and feeds. There is no scientific evidence to support the idea that eagles shed their talons entirely in order to grow new ones.
So, can’t we be “inspired” by the golden eagle?
Although the mental image of a golden eagle destroying its beak is quite, shall we say, romantic, it also evokes the destruction of the past. Was what the eagle had accomplished worthless?
That’s why I think In the continuous process of renewal of the golden eagle there are also good and even better teachings that can be applied to the day-to-day life of entrepreneurs.
Accept wear and tear as part of life
Eagle or human, time passes. You cannot go through existence waiting for a key moment to transform.
“Eagles have a gland in their tail whose function is to constantly take care of their plumage and make sure they always have the tools to fly,” says Gerardo Guerra-Páramo.
Lesson for humans: Self-care is constant work because wear and tear doesn’t stop. Take care of your health, update your knowledge and don’t wait until you need to “destroy your peak to move on”.
Make sure you always have “sharp claws”
Guerra-Páramo points out that the “eagles live close to 50 years, they are particularly long-lived birds. So they couldn’t afford to run out of claws.”
Lesson for humans: The same goes for humans. You cannot afford to have your skills deteriorated and wait for a good day to sharpen them. As in the previous point, the work is constant. And in today’s world, whoever doesn’t prepare is out of the game.
The road is long, very long. Don’t waste it.
“At six months the eagles’ chicks are already capable of flying and are even capable of reaching maturity at 4 years old,” says the expert. Considering their long lives, these birds know they need to be ready for the world as soon as possible. They can’t afford to one day go to a cliff and destroy their beak hoping to be reborn.
Lesson for humans: The entrepreneurial road is long, tiring and sometimes lonely. You cannot wait for a lightning day to come that will transform you. On the contrary, you must take control of your destiny and be able to endure the entrepreneurial marathon with all that it implies. And that is to be ready at all times to transform yourself.
The importance of forming a very good work team
Contrary to what we might like to think, eagles are not monogamous for life per se, says Guerra-Páramo. However, when they find a good match, they work hard to make a good team.
“The roles are distributed. The females are tough and protect the nest, while the males go hunting. When they have good chemistry as a team, they make more chicks survive.”
Lesson for humans: Having someone by your side who complements your skills is essential in private and professional life. Think of legendary business teams like Apple’s Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak either Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google. They managed to build their empires because each party had something the other lacked.
So, do I stop believing in the myth of the renewal of the golden eagle? If it inspires you, go ahead. But it is important to find the beauty of the lessons that real nature has for all of us.
March Violante Martha Elena Violante (March Violante) is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Emprendedor.com and has a 10+ year career in digital journalism. She has interviewed figures such as Randi Zuckerberg, Daniele Lamarre, Zoe Saldana, among others. She has worked in media such as Entrepreneur in Spanish and English, Alto Nivel, Cine PREMIERE, México Desconocido, among others. “We are entrepreneur.com”