Sometimes, things happen throughout the course of the day that don’t exactly make us feel extra motivated, driven, enthused to be our best selves. But if I’ve learned anything in life so far, it’s that there’s nothing quite as important to maintain during turbulent times than a focused perspective. That’s exactly why I’ve always loved baby sea turtles. While all of the animals that call our ocean’s waters home are spectacular, there’s something special about sea turtles’ journeys as babies from nest to ocean that has an unmatched capacity to inspire us to implement a refreshed perspective on life.
No matter what your biggest struggle or frustration is right now, here are seven ways sea turtle hatchlings can inspire you to live life a little bigger than you did yesterday.
“A flower doesn’t think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.”
When baby sea turtles hatch, they’re hatching with up to 200 of their siblings at the same time. If every sea turtle were to stop and compare itself to how quick or strong one of their brothers and sisters were compared to themselves, their shot at survival would be negatively impacted. Be like a sea turtle: focus on your own goals and don’t compare your success to anyone else’s. Your achievements are your own.
On Family and Roots
“Families are like branches on a tree. We grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one.”
Did you know female sea turtles return to the same beach where they were born to lay their own eggs as adults? While these creatures will drift apart from their siblings as they enter the sea as babies, there’s an instinctive, natural programming that mother turtles have when it comes to knowing where to go to lay their own nests. While the mechanism behind this phenomenon is complex, the lesson we can learn from it is simple: go out into the world and make your own way, but don’t forget your way home when you need a familiar shore to rest on.
On Making Progress
“It doesn’t matter how slowly you go as long as you don’t stop.”
Have you ever seen a video of hatchlings traveling toward the sea that seemed like an easy trip? Probably not. A turtle’s fight for survival, especially early on in life, is anything but easy. From dodging hungry seabirds to avoiding entanglements with obstacles on the way to the water, this journey is one of the most difficult a turtle will ever encounter. With that, it can sometimes take them a while to reach their goal. But that’s what’s so magical about it. No matter how bumpy the road may seem at times, remember: if a sea turtle can keep on pushing toward the shoreline after hatching, we can all keep pushing until we reach our own goals.
“Courage is not the absence of fear…but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”
Speaking of a hatchling’s journey to the sea, did I mention how many obstacles they face on their way to the water? Before they can bask in that first taste of a saltwater swim, they have to make it past threats they can see and some they can’t. These creatures don’t let the fear of what might stand between them and the sea stop them from running toward the thing they know is their true home. If they can have the courage to move forward with uncertainty, we certainly can do the same.
On Taking the First Step
“…The first step, as you know, is always what matters most, particularly when we are dealing with those who are young … that is the time when they are taking shape and when any impression we choose to make leaves a permanent mark.”
What comes with the courage to move forward? Taking the first step in the journey, of course. And that first step is probably the toughest of all for anyone experiencing anxiety or fear. Yet, if a sea turtle never took the first step because they never embraced their own instinct to have courage and move forward, they’d never survive. Nature intends for us to take heart and be brave, because without courage and bravery to put one foot in front of the other in the beginning of a journey, that journey wouldn’t ever exist in the first place.
On Keeping Your Head Up
“Keep your head up, keep your heart strong.”
Once we take that first step into the great unknown, it would be unrealistic of us to never expect any difficulties or road bumps to greet us, and the same is true for sea turtles. As they enter uncharted waters and swim into the deep blue for the first time in their lives, they have to trust that no matter how difficult a first swim may be, any tribulations will make their triumphs that much stronger in the end.
“The comfort zone is a psychological state in which one feels familiar, safe, at ease, and secure. If you always do what is easy and choose the path of least resistance, you never step outside your comfort zone. Great things don’t come from comfort zones.”
-Roy T. Bennett
And that reminds me … at the heart of all of this bravery and courage is something that makes sea turtles some of the most inspiring wildlife species to grace our planet. When they journey from nest to ocean, they’re crossing a critical threshold. They’re not only bridging the gap between the known and the unknown, they’re crossing between two completely separate entities: the land and the sea. This enormous change is without a doubt what I would call one of the purest illustrations of what it means to leave your comfort zone.
It’s once we step into those uncharted territories that we’re able to bloom into the person (or turtle) we were always meant to be.
When I look at sea turtle hatchlings, I remind myself not to think too hard about the hard times in life. It’s when we get too focused on the negatives, the difficulties and the rough spots that we lose sight of what really matters. That certainly includes our goals and aspirations, but it also includes the “why” behind what’s pushing us toward those dreams.
Baby sea turtles are born instinctively knowing they’re supposed to make it to the ocean, but they’re certainly not born knowing just how spectacular a sea is waiting just over the crest of that first wave. Likewise, if we never grabbed a hold of uncertainties, embraced the unfamiliar and found new motivation from our greatest downfalls and obstacles that were sprinkled throughout our journey … would we ever be able to fully appreciate the joy that comes with reaching the “destination” of growing into the people we were meant to be?
I’d like to think probably not.
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