Updated: Feb 9, 2021
Snakes are amazing creatures, with a lot to teach us about ourselves and our circumstances. Snakes shed their skin about once a month, getting rid of anything that is no longer needed or a source of discomfort. Snakes are very adaptable to their environment and change their movement style to manoeuvre the areas in which they want to go. Snakes also help us to consider our fears and their foundations, which in turn can help us to rationalize them.
Out with the old, in with the new
Arguably, one of the biggest lessons we can learn from snakes is to let go of all that doesn’t serve us. Often we unknowingly hang on to familiar patterns, beliefs, behaviours and people that no longer work for us and can often prevent us from moving forward in life to be the best version of ourselves. These may come from embedded belief systems that we have been raised with (see Stand In Your Own Power With The Tiger), but which may keep you small or feeling that you are undeserving of better.
Maybe a teacher at school told you that you would never amount to much and you believed them, or maybe your family have passed on a belief that you could never have a lot of money through the way they talk about it and the language they use e.g. “Do you think money grows on trees?” You can choose to shed those beliefs and adopt new ones that work better for you and will get you where you want to be, whether that’s in relation to how you feel about yourself, your career goals, or your life in general and how you wish to live it.
It may be that you are surrounded by people who are very negative around you and make you feel bad about yourself or the world around you or just seem to drain you. Do you really need people like that in your life? You could instead choose to surround yourself with people who make you feel good and cut loose the negative people. Many of them will simply disappear from your life anyway as your energy shifts to a higher vibration.
You may find yourself stuck in a job or career that you dislike. Our lives are constantly moving and evolving. From each situation you will learn something new, that will carry you so far on your journey. However, you wouldn’t want to enroll at college and keep repeating the same course year after year, long after you had learnt the lessons it was designed to teach you, so why would you want to stay in the same job if it no longer challenges you or you no longer enjoy doing it? You can choose to make a change. You are never truly stuck. Sometimes you just need to take a step back, think about what you do now enjoy and consider other options. It’s never too late.
When we talk about snakes one of the things that many people think about is fear – whether you have a fear of snakes yourself, or whether you know someone who has a fear of snakes. This fear may be something that has been passed on from others. If you have seen enough people constantly reacting negatively towards something, you may very well have adopted their fear subconsciously, whether this is snakes, spiders, the dark – whatever it is.
When you think about it logically – why might people be afraid of snakes? Have you ever been hurt by one? How many people do you know who have been hurt by one? According to the National Geographic, only about 6% of snakes are actually able to severely injure or kill a human and most would rather stay away.
Any fear that we experience is usually a fear of the unknown. Fear is a primal instinct that we experience to protect us and keep us safe. However, when we allow fear to prevent us from doing something that we would really like to do it needs to be addressed and rationalised. Consider the following questions:
Why am I afraid of this?
What is the worst that can happen?
What is the best that can happen if I move past this fear?
How much do I want to do the thing that fear is trying to prevent me from doing?
Obviously fear can be our friend and your decision should always consider the risks. If there is a genuine risk to your safety or the safety of others, then maybe you should listen and find a alternative course of action. There is an element of common sense in that. However, if the fear is mainly about making a necessary change or stepping out of your comfort zone into the unknown, then maybe it is worth facing that fear and going for it in order to make the changes you wish to see. (See Face Your Fears With The Lion for more about fear.)
Adapt and grow
Snakes move in different ways, depending on the environment they are moving through. When moving in an S shape, they are able to push themselves of any bumps in the surface e.g. trees or rocks. When climbing, it uses a concertina movement. It uses a sidewinding movement to throw itself forward over slippery or muddy ground and a forward, crawling rectilinear movement to move into smaller spaces, which doesn’t allow for much movement.
Being able to adapt to what comes to you and easily manoeuvre the bumps in the road takes a specific kind of mindset. Every road has bumps in it. How you choose to see those bumps can make all the difference to your success. Carol Dweck ( ) talks about two different mindsets – ‘a growth mindset’, which allows you to see opportunities and grow from all your experiences; and ‘a fixed mindset,’ in which you don’t seem to be able to switch your focus on perspective from one train of thought.
A growth mindset would allow you to see each bump as a learning opportunity to help steer you in the right direction, whereas a fixed mindset of choosing to focus only on the bumps and problems, without looking for solutions or alternative outcomes could severely restrict the outcomes of your endeavours.
The Key To Your Success
Through following the lessons that the snake brings, you can choose to make the changes that are needed to grow and succeed in becoming the person that you want to be and are more than capable of being. You hold the key to your own success.
The National Geographic https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/reptiles/group/snakes/ accessed 17/01/21
Snakes For Pets https://www.snakesforpets.com/how-do-snakes-move/ accessed 17/01/21
Dweck, C.S. (2006) Mindset – The New Psychology Of Success. Balentine Books
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