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Foxes and Chickens

Updated: Jun 20

by Ben.

Foxes and Chickens is one of our more popular lessons at Three Trees. We were not too surprised that the podcast episode where we talked about this concept became one of our more popular ones. In this blog post we would like to share this ability to be able to predict people's top priorities, and point out their cognitive dissonance, so that you too can get banned from just as many social events as I have.

To begin with, you need to identify your chickens. Remember, these are not literal chickens, there is no need to run out to the farmers Exchange and fight with your HOA over whether or not your chickens could be classified as a therapy chicken (not that Jamesa or I have ever done that). Now, if you want the cheat code for this part of the activity you can just assume that your top 5 chickens are something like:

  1. Health

  2. Family and/or Friends

  3. Job/education/success

  4. Spirituality / Freedom

  5. Three Trees Blog Posts.

Now catch your breath, you may wonder why I was able to guess which such breath taking accuracy your top 5 priorities. The secret is, we all want the same things in life. So if we all want the same things in life why do we not all have them? The answer is foxes. Foxes love to eat chickens. Foxes can be divided up into internal and external foxes.


Internal Foxes

Internal foxes are the cognitive dissonance between our priorities and our actions. If we were saying that friends and family were the most important chickens but you spent your time arguing with these chickens in order to protect your ego then there would be cognitive dissonance regarding your values and your behavior. If you said that your faith path was an important chicken but you acted in ways contradictory to this path this is a problem. This internal fox of cognitive dissonance would need to be addressed or it will eat your chickens. Pride, ego, and cognitive dissonance are shadow chickens that we all seem to put a lot of energy into protecting, but will not admit that we are doing so. In order to protect our chickens we have to sought through and align these internal foxes and bring these shadow chickens to the light. If we do not do so we will not be able to protect our chickens properly.


External Foxes

External foxes are the environmental conditions that might prevent us from having or being able to protect our chickens. If you grow up in a violent home it can be difficult to ever feel safe and you may engage in behaviors in an attempt to feel safe, but which may in reality put your chickens at risk. Or you may grow up not having the resources you need to really care for your education. The weight of other areas of life may prevent you from doing so. These foxes are more systemic foxes and outside of the individual's control. But if you have your chickens well aligned then hopefully you are engaged in the communal work of making sure all individuals have the ability to have chickens, and to protect them. On a previous podcast we interviewed Brittany from the Mercantile in Rock Hill about her work in helping people raise and protect their chickens. On an upcoming podcast we will be talking to the people over at Victory Gardens whose goal it is to promote food equity. These fascinating people felt their chickens were safe enough that it was time to go out and help others have chickens and care for their chickens and so have been working on this ever since. If you have managed your internal foxes it may be time for you to join the work to protect the communal chickens from the external foxes.


Hopefully, this article has been helpful for you. Let us know how you are doing raising your chickens and keeping the foxes out. And, don't forget to lend your neighbor a hand so that they have all the resources you might to keep their chickens safe too!


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