I’m about to tell you a horrific story that you’ve probably never heard before… But the lesson it shares can help you.
To my knowledge, Dateline never covered this one. And it was never on 20/20. I never even saw a YouTube video about it.
But it happened. And as horrific as it is, it’s also helpful.
It was 2005 in Turkey. A large flock of sheep stood a nearby cliff near a group of villagers in the town of Gevas. And that morning, as the shepherds were off to take a quick breakfast break, the villagers watched in horror as one of the sheep jumped to its death off of the cliff… And before they knew it, then 1,500 others followed.
That’s right…1,500 sheep jumped to their death.
When the shepherds, whose livelihoods depended on the flock, arrived at the bottom of the mountain, they found a billowy white pile of death. Yet, only 450 sheep actually died. The rest survived! It seems that as the pile grew higher, the fall was more cushioned. So over 1,000 just bounced off and carried on with their sheep lives.
Can you believe it? Can you imagine what it was like to experience this?
So, here are my takeaways from this unforgettable story…
Lessons We Can Learn from This Story
1 • Keep an eye on your flock.
The reason these sheep took the dive was because their shepherds slipped off for breakfast. No one kept a watchful eye on the flock, and the fur began to fly.
What relationships have you allowed to go on autopilot? What needs attention? Just because your kids think they are adults at 13 doesn’t necessarily mean they need to be left on to themselves.
2 • Who are you following?
The lesson of sheep following each other off a cliff is a metaphor for our lives: Many of us blindly follow leaders, teachers, peers, and cultural norms often without thinking… And before we know it, it’s too late.
A great question to ask yourself is this: “Why am I doing this… Really?”
3 • Benefit from others’ mistakes.
The 1,050 sheep who survived did so at the expense of the mistakes made of their leaders.
It’s been said that the wise learn from their mistakes, but the geniuses learn from others’ mistakes. Who can you learn from today that can cushion your fall?
Well there you have it. Okay, now someone call Dateline.