“The point of no return” is often used to describe the moment in time when, upon reaching it, there is absolutely no way to stop or reverse what has been done. Here is a true story that illustrates the importance of that moment. It came from a seminar that I attended and involves the speaker’s dog…..
The person speaking had a family dog that totally and in every way loved its freedom to run outdoors. They had a fenced-in back yard in a semi-rural suburb, but this dog always seemed to find a way over a certain part of the fence to its freedom beyond. It always waited until the family left in their car and no one was around. It would wander around the neighborhood, saying hi to all the other dogs and lesser life forms (also known as cats) and eventually come back around to its own house again.
This family realized that they had to do something to try to keep this dog within the limits of the back yard (which was a rather large one at that). So they decided to get an invisible fence. This is an electric fence that’s buried just below the surface of the yard. The dog wears a special collar that picks up a signal the fence emits from below the ground. This signal transfers into an electric shock that the dog feels around its neck. The closer the dog gets to the fence, the stronger the signal that is received in the collar.
This might sound cruel at first, but there’s something important to understand about this. When the dog’s collar first picks up the signal, the shock is light enough to just warn the dog that it’s getting too close to a boundary. If the dog continues to walk closer to the fence, though, the shock becomes stronger until it’s just too much for the dog to take. (Certainly not a point of no return, but probably in the ball park.) This produces a nice brown streak across the yard as the dog suddenly repents of its actions and runs back from whence it came (besides the brown streak, you also see the dog).
Once the invisible fence was in and the dog had been trained on it for a while, the family decided they would try leaving again and see what would happen. They did so and came home to find their dog greeting them at the front of the house! This happened quite a few times and became the unanswerable question. Eventually, they came up with an idea to see how this dog was getting out of the back yard.
They made it very evident to the dog that they were leaving for a while. Once they had driven out of sight of the house, however, they quickly circled back around and parked where the dog couldn’t see them, but they could see the dog in the back yard. They were just in time to see the incredible actions of their family pet.
The dog was facing its favorite spot where it used to jump over the fence. It backed up as far as it could and gave every indication that it was psyching itself up for something. But what? Suddenly, the dog started running towards the invisible fence! As it got within shocking range, it started to yelp at the shocks it was getting on its neck. But, incredibly, the dog ran even faster towards the fence! It had reached the point of no return! As the shocks became more intense, the yelps coming from the dog grew in volume to match. But within seconds, the dog had crossed the buried fence and was free once again!
What can be learned from this dog’s actions? Well, the dog wanted something bad enough that it was willing to endure whatever it had to to get it. So what about you? Is there something you want bad enough that you’re willing to cross the point of no return and endure whatever you need to to get it? Your Big Dream? A risk you might be scared to take? A promotion at work and the unknowns of new territory that would bring?
If a dog is willing to cross the point of no return for its freedom to run around, what’s holding you back from what you really want to do? Endure the pain, the discomfort and anything else that may arise. It’ll be worth it in the end!
One more thing, in case you were wondering. If memory serves me correctly, that family decided to put the old fence back up and may have used both as a deterrent to the dog’s escapades.