How to Boil a Frog

Did you know that if you throw a frog in boiling water, it’ll try like hell to jump out and probably make whatever sort of screaming noises a frog can make? You’re probably thinking, hell yeah, I Frog would too! Did you also know that if you put a frog in a pot in cool water and slowly raised the temperature until it was boiling that the frog wouldn’t fight one bit to get out? You’d simply cook it alive with no fanfare whatsoever.

Most recently I heard this story while listening to the audio book CrazyBusy: Overstretched, Overbooked, and About to Snap! By Dr. Edward Hallowell.

The point being that when we look at our lives it is not like we woke up one morning and were suddenly overbooked and feeling out of our minds. If we did, we would probably have screamed and jumped out of the pot like the frog. Instead, the insane pace and overbooked, burned out world we are living in happened gradually. First a little technology, then some added demands, add in some downsizing, a little more technology, and a few more commitments. We slowly built our lives into this boiling pot that can be a challenge and exhausting to manage and survive at times. Unconsciously it all sort of just “happened”.

The only way to nip this problem and back away from the edge of snapping is to consciously be aware of all that we put into our pot and then slowly remove commitments and obligations until the water in our pot cools to a more livable level. World renown coach Cheryl Richardson often says (and I paraphrase here because I can’t remember the exact words) — a high quality life is often more a function of what we remove from our lives than what we add to it. I’m not suggesting we go back to the days of working a farm and pulling a manual plow but there is something to be said for a degree of simplicity that allows us to breathe and actually experience our life. Since I am just getting over digestive system flu, I am once again amazed at how simple life can get when I’m forced to simply stop. While I certainly don’t enjoy having a fever and feeling ill (goodness knows I am an awful, impatience patient), being reduced to a lot of sleeping, movie watching, and reading certainly reinforces the fact that the world will continue to turn even if I am not busily working on something.

So, starting this month, unless you’re trying to cook yourself for dinner, consider turning down the heat and saving a frog.

Note: This can of course apply to cooking lobsters or other such animals as well… and as an animal lover myself, please take this post in the metaphorical sense even though apparently someone, somewhere actually scientifically proved this concept.

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Google+ Comments


  1. Ahh…I think I've been a frog at some point. LOL I would definitely advocate removing items to make life better and more doable than adding more, unless what you add is something that handles other stuff…like an assistant or a system.

  2. Good point Leah. Adding systems is actually helping to "take away" some of the items on the list by automating or delegating (or at least streamlining to minimize effort). Certainly helpful for any of us who want to avoid being the frog!


  1. A Life Less Convenient » Two Ways to Boil Frogs says:

    […] It didn’t consent to getting cooked alive. It just happened that way. The rest of the post is here. […]

How to Prioritize When Everything is a Priority

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