Taken out of context, the slide of the coyote feces on my slide talk, The Art of Business Thinking 1, might seem like a random act of image-slinging for simple shock value. Well, maybe that slide was dog poop. But let me explain.
The subject has to do with ridding ourselves of ideas, beliefs, or viewpoints–the ones that no longer serve us, but that we hang onto anyways. Sometimes it’s worth arguing the pros and cons of an issue, but that could take a lot of time. That’s why an image of coyote shit is often the most efficient solution to a tiresome debate: you can quickly get on to the next topic. The new idea.
If you think about it, you’ll see that most ideas, beliefs, and viewpoints are temporary. They can easily become just plain wrong wrong as they age. The most decisive way to deal with them is quick release.
I think this is close to what Gary Hamel was saying in his book, Leading the Revolution. (I’m not saying he would use my analogy.) Hamel says that true innovation is more important than the simply new, which might just be the latest fad. Achieving authentic innovation usually means tearing down and recreating traditional concepts and whole business models. Even the ones taught in school.
Sound something like what artists do? Well, that’s because quick release and decomposition of old ideas is the essence of the creative process. There is only so much room on a canvas, so quick removal, or overpainting, of the old allows room for the new.
Coyotes instinctively know this.That’s why they are one of the most adaptable and successful mammals on our planet. And the subtle connection with the creative process may be why they are considered sacred animals here in the Southwest here I live.
At first glance at their scat, one can see that coyotes are omnivores, like us. Except that they really do eat almost everything, even things that are not food. Their scat is usually covered with hairs, and full of berry rinds, seeds, bones, almost anything that is not digestible. You can tell a lot about what is being served in the area by a close examination.
Despite bounty hunters and the best we can throw at them, coyotes are more successful than ever. Why? Because they are both adaptable and intelligent. They do not necessarily follow the rules, even those laid down by authorities on coyote behavior. They are also cooperative–they will take turns chasing down a rabbit to tire it out. Coyotes have even been seen cooperating with badgers. Of all things. I never would have thought of that.
- Aw-Aw-Tam Indian Nights, The Myths and Legends of the Pimas, Collected by J. William Lloyd
- Named in Stone and Sky, an Arizona Anthology, edited by Gregory MacNamee
- A good collection of books on O’odham oral traditions are listed here.
- Don’t forget Gathering the Desert, written by my good friend Gary Paul Nabhan, and my first illustrated book done back in 1985. Read the chapter on Coyote Gourds.