In a popular children’s story, Chicken Little is a fictional character who quickly lost hope because of a life circumstance. After an acorn fell on his head, Chicken Little became a false prophet of doom and gloom who immediately ran to tell the king, “The sky is falling, the sky is falling”.
Just like everyone else does, Chicken Little needed certainty in his life; and when Chicken Little faced a new, unfamiliar circumstance, he met a fear that initiated chaos for himself and others.
Here is the show stopper: Chicken Little’s loss of hope and resulting chaos did not have to cause despair, disorder, and confusion for him or others. The original meaning of chaos is “pure potential from which all things and all beings emerged”, or what author Deepak Chopra calls “the field of infinite possibilities”.
If Chicken Little had looked for the infinite possibilities in his new circumstance, he might have developed his sense of wonder. Instead of fearing, he could have “wondered” and used his curiosity to investigate and find evidence of what had fallen on his head.
And, instead of disorder and confusion, he could have found the pure potential in his new circumstance. He could have learned more about the nature of acorns: how they fall from trees, become immersed in soil, and emerge from the soil as oak trees.
Because he did not take time to investigate his new circumstance, Chicken Little developed his own dogmatic opinion about what happened. Then, he positively and dogmatically asserted to others his opinion of the truth, which was a false perception of the truth.
Like so many others, Chicken Little’s loss of hope and false perception of truth were responsible for him becoming a false prophet of doom and gloom, a naysayer, and a “drama king”.
I use these appellations to describe Chicken Little because, I believe, he is similar to people with these same titles, who are like garbage trucks that are full of fear, frustration, anger, and disappointment. The more garbage they accumulate, the more they need a place to dump it, and sometimes they dump it on innocent, unsuspecting people; many of whom are susceptible to strong, suggestive influences.
Chicken Little dumped his garbage by propagating his untruth to those he met along his way to the king’s palace. When asked for evidence that the sky was falling, he dogmatically asserted to them that he knew the sky was falling because a piece of it fell on his head. Chicken Little’s strong, suggestive influence and dogmatic assertion of his perceived truth caused others to jump on his negative band wagon on the way to the king’s palace.
Just like many gullible people today, who ride in political, religious, cultural, and other negative band wagons, others unconsciously and very quickly assimilated Chicken Little’s attitude, belief, and behavior. They became part of a “negative reference group”, founded upon Chicken Little’s false perception of the truth.
Harvard’s twenty-five years of research about “negative reference groups” offers evidence that people in “negative reference groups” are prone to failure and under achievement in life. This evidence proves that it is very important for people to associate with positive people, which requires that they wisely choose those with whom they associate. However, unless a person becomes a total hermit, it is not possible to escape negative people. They and negative reference groups are everywhere.
So how do people not let negative thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors influence them? One of the best ways is to use a formula of questions. This formula states that we should “kill the ants”. Ants stands for “automatic negative thoughts”. The formula, from an unknown source, suggests that we kill our automatic negative thoughts by writing them down, and then ask ourselves the following questions about each of those thoughts:
- Is it true?
- Is it absolutely true?
- How do I feel when I believe the thought?
- Who would I be if I did not believe the thought?
A person can have only one thought in his mind at a time. He can choose whether that thought is positive or negative, and the more a person continues to choose only positive thoughts, the more the ants or the old negative thoughts die.
In other words, Chicken Little did not have to initially think, or continue to believe that the sky was falling. By not questioning his negative thoughts, Chicken Little continued to believe and tell others something that was not true.
Unfortunately, the story of Chicken Little is a mirror of our current society in which there are political, religious, cultural, and social leaders who are false prophets of doom and gloom. But, because of their strong, suggestive influence and dogmatic assertion of their perceived truth, many others have joined them on their negative band wagons.
The words in the song by Johnny Mercer— “You’ve got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch onto the affirmative. Don’t mess with Mister In-between”—are a good formula for hope in an epidemic of Chicken Little-like despair, which has been initiated by false prophets of doom and gloom.
So, eliminate negative thoughts that are not founded upon factual evidence. Do not believe the sky is falling until YOU have solid, factual, evidence. Do not mess with any thoughts in between. And do not jump on any negative bandwagons filled with negative reference groups of people.
YouTube Video: New Version of Chicken Little, The Sky is Falling. You might also want to view Disney 1943 YouTube Video version.