Around where we live – and to the great delight of our dog, Cowgirl – there happens to be a large population of cottontail rabbits. So you can imagine how excited she gets when we put on our jogging shoes and prepare to take her out on a morning jog. It has become quite a sport for us to see how many rabbits we can scare up each morning. Usually it’s only one at a time, but occasionally there will be two or three together. Once we kicked up as many as five at one time. You never saw so many rabbits scampering off every which direction scattering like a covey of quail. (Not to worry, all you rabbit lovers, Cowgirl’s on a leash so the rabbits are never in any real danger.)
One thing I’ve noticed about Cowgirl is that when there is only a single rabbit to chase she’s totally focused on what she’s doing. But when two or more pop up at the same time she seems to dart after the first one she sees, until a different one catches her attention and she changes directions to pursue it. The end result is that in the confusion of trying to chase more than one rabbit they all tend to escape.
Isn’t that true for most us? When we try to chase more than one rabbit we jeopardize our chances to catch any of them. I do it all the time, new opportunities pop up out of the weeds like the rabbits in our neighborhood and instead of keeping my focus on the one I’m already chasing I try to go after them all and lucky to catch any. It’s the risk we take in our attempts to multitask as our culture seems to think is so important. But we’re not as equipped to do multiple things at once as we might think. Case in point, why do you think it is against the law to talk on a cellphone while driving through a school zone, or why texting while driving may soon become totally outlawed?
Several months ago I found myself stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on a major thoroughfare and accidentally rear-ended someone. Why? I’m embarrassed to admit this but I was reading an email instead of paying attention. Fortunately no harm was done, but I was nevertheless compelled to stop and confer with the victim of my negligence which simply cost me more time than if I had waited to read the email.
Wouldn’t we all catch more rabbits if we would just chase one at a time?