To a rat, a small hole is like a door – Helena.
Hijacked by A Rat
In 2018, an Alaska Airlines flight from California to Oregon was abruptly canceled for one little reason. A rat lept from the jetway onto the plane while passengers were boarding. This sneak attack by the rat caused a delay as officials feverishly searched for the rat but came up empty, forcing the cancellation. One passenger asked the flight captain if the passengers could vote in favor of accepting the risk of a rat on the plan just to get to their destination. The pilot refused, citing that he did not want the rat around his feet. This is a laughable incident, but when you consider a rat that delayed 110 passengers from getting to their destination, it makes us think how little things can derail or delay our lives as British pilot and aviation pioneer Handley Page found out. He was in the cockpit of his plane when he heard the sound of gnawing and chewing. Unbeknownst to him, a rat had climbed on board and was chewing on wires connected to vital aircraft control systems. What was Page to do?
Before we find out what Page did, we must understand the danger of rats. Rats (and mice) are notorious for making entrances through tiny gaps. They take advantage of openings to gain access to places that will work to their advantage. Their impact on human life is tremendous. According to the Humane Society, though diminutive in size, they are carriers of more human diseases except for the mosquito. In short, rats, whether on a plane, in a house, or in our lives, must not be entertained, only eliminated.
Removing Your Rats
What rat has climbed onboard your life and gnaws at vital areas, threatening to cause serious damage? Is the rat of stubbornness keeping you from learning a new way to experience growth in an area of your life? How about the rat of unforgiveness that gnaws at the wires of strong relationships and renders them obsolete? Quite possibly, the rat of control and manipulation has caused a rift between you and those closest to you. Has the rat of laziness and idleness found a way into your life and been allowed to run rampant, affecting your momentum and delaying your progress? Or could it be the rat of indifference or apathy chewing away at your passion?
Back to Page, who was in a particularly precarious predicament. He knew his plane would soon nosedive, and death was imminent. In the chaos and fear, he had a light bulb moment. Rats cannot survive in extremely high altitudes. So, Page took his plane higher. He listened for gnawing and chewing. It had stopped. The rat was dead, and Page safely reached his destination. Page teaches us the key to killing rats. We must rise higher. Our society is filled with rats that threaten the fabric of civility in ways we have not imagined. But to build a better culture, we must be ready to remove the rats. Building A Better Culture, which is the subject of next month’s blog, is not up to governments or elected leaders; it is a responsibility that we all must shoulder. When it becomes an individual responsibility, change is realized.
Before then, let us rise higher informationally to learn how to eliminate rats that delay or even cancel our progress. The Center For Disease Control (CDC) offers three ways to help eliminate rats.
1. Seal Up: Months ago, I was reading early in the morning when I spotted a mouse running across the room. It hid underneath our dishes cabinet. I stopped reading and went on the offensive. I located it and killed it. Next, I looked around for an access point. Killing one rat without closing the gaps leads to more rats. I found a small hole under our fridge that fed the waterline to the refrigerator.I stuffed the hole with steel wool, sealing up the hole. Small access points are attractive to rats and mice. Mice can squeeze through a space as small as your pinkie finger because of their collapsible rib cages. Audit your life and see where gaps exist that attract rats into your life. Is your attitude an access point? Or maybe there are relationships that are negatively impacting your life that need to end.
2. Trap Up: The second way to eliminate rats is to trap them. This is the creation of systems that alert you when a rat is onboard your life. Can you tell when selfishness is creeping into your life? Do you have the awareness to recognize when the rat of indifference is stealing your passion? The way to catch these rats is by being mentally alert and attentive to your trusted friends when they are honest with you.
3. Clean-Up: The third way is to eliminate food sources that draw and keep rodents coming back. In our home, we clean counters and sweep floors regularly. Rats love crumb buffets. What habits do you need to clean up that attract the rats you are trying to eliminate? Our daily habits have a knack for either attracting progress or canceling it out completely.
Final Thought: Spotting a rat or mouse requires the intentional effort to discover what areas of your life are affected. Like Page, we must first be aware of the rats onboard our lives. Without this knowledge, the rat had free reign of his aircraft. He would have crushed and not known the reason. As you develop an awareness of the rats delaying or canceling your progress, the choice is ours, either to ignore them or spring into action to eliminate them. Remember, as far as rats are concerned, there is only one option. Eliminate!
Keep on keeping on!