Are you a lion or a gazelle?

Having spent a huge part of my adult life delivering training and personal development programmes like Choices, I have been extremely fortunate to have met a lot of people, somewhere in the many thousands.

I feel privileged that amongst them have been some truly exceptional individuals, from business leaders and entrepreneurs to young, unemployed people with an absolute desire to get more from their lives.

There is of course a flip side, people who have just settled for what they have and who they are.

It would be unfair to criticise either approach as after all, I am not really entitled to an opinion on a individual’s life choices. I can though describe a very different behaviour that exists between the two, a behaviour I have found, on occasion, to be very frustrating. More on that later.

I recall a time, several years ago watching a nature documentary presented by the legend that is, Sir David Attenborough. This particular episode followed big cats in the wild. The essence of the entire programme focussed on the animals desire, and need for food.

Lions eat a variety of animals that they hunt and kill before gorging themselves on as much as they possibly can. They never really know when the next meal will be. A common source of food is a gazelle, on this particular occasion the gazelle was clearly in the lions sights.

Gazelles are fairly simple animals, they hang around with large numbers of other gazelles, affording them both like minded company as well as protection from potential predators. gazelles live on grass and shrub, and spend their entire day grazing over this bland and boring food. The gazelle does not have to think about very much at all, its only concern is not being eaten by a big cat! In truth, as long as it can run faster than the slowest gazelle it will likely live to the next day. The gazelle plays a victim role, it is the hunted and does not know how to change.

The lion however is completely different, in fact the two animals could not be any further apart in their thinking, attitude and behaviour. lions have an education that starts from a very young age. Baby cubs follow the pride around, watching and learning all of the time. The education does not stop there, it continues throughout the entire life of the lion. Learning both from its mistakes, and its successes.

Lions don’t just walk into a hunting situation, they plan long and hard watching the heard of gazelles sometimes for many hours before they make their move. They are tactile and smart, and they hate to loose. When a lion goes for the kill, it has every intention of being successful. It puts every single ounce of energy and effort it has into the mix.

Is it always successful? Absolutely not! It fails often. It is what it does after it fails that is the difference – It fails fast.  It has a rest, and starts again. Learning from its failings it applies just as much effort as before and so the process to succeed begins all over. The lion is relentless, it refuses to give up despite repeated failure, it is a true hunter.

So what you might ask. The lion acts in the only way it knows. The point however, is in fact very significant, so do humans.

There are two types of people in the western world; Hunters and The Hunted. Sure, there is much more to all of us than that but when it boils down to it, its probably closer to reality than we realise.

Humans that are hunters always learn and grow just like the lions. They are relentless in their desire to reach the goal and be successful. They fail often but they fail fast. They pick themselves up, dust themselves down and try again, and again, and again. They don’t just have one plan, they have many plans and they love to share that knowledge and drive with others.

Humans that are the hunted are very different. They accept things the way they are and are content with getting by. They are not concerned with challenging the status quo nor are they likely to put their head above the norm and risk making mistakes. They are probably like this because they do not know another way, they may even have been told by others that it is as good as it gets.

Earlier I talked about people that act like the hunted. People that just get on with it. I talked about a regular frustration that I have. The frustration is because the hunted often complain about what other people have or how lucky they are. If truth, no one is any more lucky than the other, its just that the hunter creates better luck because they have more skin in the game. Unlike the hunted, the hunters are not afraid of setback or even criticism, they thrive on success.

It is a simple choice that any one can make. Are the hunter or the hunted? Are you happy with your current position in the food chain? Do you thrive for something different but do not know how to find it?

The Choices Personal Development Programme is designed to help define who you are. You can be a hunter, with the right attitude and a great plan you to can reach greatness in life. To find out how you can be involved in choices either as a participant or as a service provider email us at

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