TMG Philosophy: “Do Not Feed the Alligators!”

So, this morning I am sitting in a hotel lobby in Orlando, Florida, writing this blog entry, eating my breakfast muffin sandwich (which was way too expensive by the way) and waiting to go out and get some shots (photos, not tequila!).

The other day I was out walking around the grounds of the hotel, exploring and trying to find some interesting shots when I kept running into small ponds and streams blocking my way.  There were things on the other side of these barriers that I wanted to get to, but I kept getting blocked at each turn.  The water in these ponds was an odd greenish brown color with things floating on, and just under the surface.  The water was pretty murky and it was hard to tell if it was a foot deep or 10 feet deep.

I really didn’t want to get my feet wet, and not knowing the depth of the water or what was in it, I just decided to see if there was another way around.  For a good part of two hours, I wandered through the paths and tried to find a way out of the grounds of the hotel, but was always blocked by these “water hazards”.

In a few cases I came across a sign that made it even clearer that I should not venture into the murky water.  It read:  “DANGER Do Not Feed Alligators”.

A sign in Orlando, warning you not to feed the alligators, which, when you think about it, doesn't NOT feeding them only make them hungrier and more desperate...?

A sign in Orlando, warning you not to feed the alligators, which, when you think about it, doesn’t NOT feeding them only make them hungrier and more desperate…?

Some of you may now see how this blog entry ties in to my last blog entry about “fear”.  Some would say that there is a good type of fear that keeps us from doing things that could be harmful to us.  I do believe this is true and in this case, I am not sure that it was actual fear of alligators that was keeping me from entering the water (my heart rate wasn’t increased, my palms were not sweaty, etc.) but more the fear of the unknown:   Were there even alligators in there?  If so, how many?  How big were they?  Had they just eaten a deer, someone’s pet or a small child so they were now lethargic and napping on a full stomach?  Had they moved to a better neighborhood, possibly one with better schools, closer to work…?  My mind calculated all of this, and many more options and I finally decided that since I did not know enough, it would be better to avoid that water.

And that is my point.  Some barriers are in fact there to keep us safe.  And some are there to protect us from the unknown.   But I firmly believe that it is our responsibility as individuals to study those barriers, ask questions, and generally just learn more about why we are being told we cannot do something.  Then we need to decide if we want to question and test them or not.  Sometimes the barriers need to be broken and sometimes they do not.  It is not black and white.  In short, we are meant to explore, and exploration is risky.

Now that I have finished my muffin sandwich and iced-tea, it is time to get out there and explore…

You should too (just watch out for the alligators)…!

3 thoughts on “TMG Philosophy: “Do Not Feed the Alligators!”

  1. Tim, your comment to get out there and explore reminded me of a statement made by Robert James Waller, retired business college dean at UNI and best-selling author. In a recent article in UNIBusiness, the UNI graduate magazine, a student of Waller’s wrote: “I always remember you saying that life is a race between death and discovery.” If we don’t get out there and explore, we will never discover. Thanks for your encouragement.

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