Don’t drop that egg!

Yesterday while at the Nashville Zoo with my granddaughter, we watched as the zookeeper offered to let small children hold an ostrich egg.  These amazing eggs are approximately 24 times the size of a chicken egg and weigh about 3 pounds.  But rather than embracing a once-in-a-lifetime experience, almost without exception the parental caution was – “Now, don’t drop that egg.” 

Just what do you suppose was at the top of every little child’s mind as they carefully took that big egg into their arms?  Were they marveling at the size, wondering how long it would take to hatch, imagining using that egg as a volleyball, or basking in the educational enrichment of the moment?  No, I suspect that the thought foremost in their minds was – “If I drop this egg I’m in big trouble.”  I doubt that the teaching experience went much beyond the fear of dropping that egg.   

Fear masks our ability to see the positive.

On March 3rd, 1943 an air raid siren sounded in London.  The citizens of London knew they were at war with Germany and that a retaliation attack was possible.  But with nothing but the sound of the siren, panic and mass hysteria was the result.  1500 people tried to get down the steps of the Bethnal Green train station tunnel for protection.  One lady, carrying her small baby, tripped on the stairs and fell.  Within a few seconds 300 people were crushed into the tiny stairwell.  The chaos lasted less than 15 minutes, but 172 people were dead at the scene, with one more dying the next day. 

No German bombs fell that day.  The largest number killed by any single bomb in the entire war in England was 68.  The crush at Bethnal Green was the largest loss of civilian life in the UK in World War II.  But bombs didn’t kill those people – fear did.

If you’re focused on not dropping the egg you:

  • Will not try for the promotion now.  I’ll just hang on to what I have.
  • Will not start a business in this economy.  It’s too risky.
  • Will not buy a house.  If I ever get behind on payments the bank could foreclose.
  • Will never love deeply.  What if I’m not loved in return?
  • Will not give generously.  There’s no guarantee of return.
  • Will not dream richly.  I’ve got to be practical and realistic in these trying times.

Most people have never held an ostrich egg.  They base their experience on knowing chicken eggs are fragile and break with the tap of a spoon.  Most people don’t know that an ostrich egg has a thick shell that requires a hammer or drill to crack.  Their perception is that the “risk” is much greater than it actually is. 

Maybe the people holding you back have experienced too much pain, shortage and despair.  They may be watching too much news on TV.  They don’t know the thrill of living out your passion.  Don’t let their fear deprive you of completing your “bucket list.”  Go ahead, take that trip, write that book, open that ice cream shop or buy that little house you’ve been wanting.  And if you drop the egg, call 20 of your friends and enjoy an incredible omelet.

24 Responses to “Don’t drop that egg!”

  1. Kathy Says:

    Thank you for the reminder that fear can limit anyone. My husband and I started a business this year and it seems like everyone thought we were crazy. We must have heard a thousand times, “Why are you even trying to start a business in this economy?” We went ahead and did it. It’s been tough but we are doing quite well. We are both self employed now. We just smile and say, “If it is this good now-WOW- It will blow our minds to drive this thing thru a good economy!” We’re having a ball-loving life!

  2. Oracca-Tetteh Says:

    That was a fantastic revelation! Indeed, cowards die many times before their death! God bless you for such an inspirational message.

  3. Fiona Says:

    Great..timely reminder! It is so easy to let yourself get bogged down with what may seem dire circumstances, constant negative news reports and ‘woes-is-me’ naysayers. Dan Miller and 48 Days is a better boost than any morning coffee!

  4. Andy Says:

    Dan, the key to this idea in my opinion is to surround yourself with people who won’t say “Don’t drop that egg!” We need a chorus of people who are behind us and willing to offer encouragement. That’s why I”ve got friends like you! Blessings brother…keep up the great work.

  5. Theresa Says:

    EEEEK! I am the voice of that mother admonishing the kid to not to drop the egg! Overcoming one’s fear and negativity is not a passive activity by any means.

    Thanks for the great reminder to loosen up….laugh more….and have a frying pan ready if we do drop some eggs.

  6. Tiana Says:

    So true! Our children are naturally passionate and curious. It’s too bad that so many of them hear “Don’t drop that egg!” most of their lives. Instead, they need to hear messages such as,

    “You really find that interesting, don’t you?”
    “Wow, you’re very good at that!”
    “I can’t wait to see what kind of a man/woman you’ll be when you grow up.”

    Thanks for the reminder!

  7. RJ Dannemiller Says:


    Thanks for your inspiring words! You encouraged me to live more fully and fearlessly. I was convicted by the piece and realize that I have allowed fear hinder my own progress to date. Therefore, I choose this day to take bolder steps forward and to limit my exposure to the limiting beliefs of others in my life.


  8. TaRita Says:

    Dan–I want to thank you for this great article. Due to a lay off I lost my job in December 2008. Dealing with the job situation right now makes it really hard to stay positive and not be fearful. Although I’m surrounded by great family/friends who are uplifting . . . it’s still quite different not being to do some of the things that I use to do when I was working. I must say that God has made a way thus far, but it is still fearful at times. I do think that fear is often holding me back from things that I may have a desire to do and passion for. I feel that I must realize as a single mother that the decisions I make must be beneficial for not just me, but for my daughter also. Thank you again for all of the encouragement that you often provide, and keep up the good work.

  9. Colleen Says:

    I haven’t read the emails you sent me. In fact, I only opened up today’s emails so I could unsubscribe. I’ve been in litigation for the past seven years and last month God told me to forgive them. After seven years, it ends with me having to forgive.

    So, I needed to start over and my husband and I have talked about opening a coffee shop and have had this discussion for over a year now. Last week, the opportunity was presented to us and we have a building to use. All the planning for the coffee shop and it’s newspaper has been in the making, but fear kept me from just opening it, or printing the paper.

    Last night I went to measure out the dimensions of the building so I would know how to set it up, but all the while I was doing this, I was asking God what if no one shows up? What if I fail? What if it’s a bad location? What if it isn’t His will? Fear has gripped me.

    I was looking for your unsubscribe button but the title caught my eye, so I read it. I’m glad I did. I think I’ll stay subscribed for a while.

  10. Sharon Forrest Says:

    Thank you so very much for writing such a moving message. Your encouragement brought tears to my eyes. I was laid off in June – took the plunge to make what was for me a big move to a location where I believe the opportunity God has for me will be revealed. I haven’t yet reaped the harvest, so hearing your message was very heartening. Your vivid examples were compelling. It’s wonderful to see someone so apparently living out their passion as you do with your writing.

  11. Ruth Greenwood Says:

    That was one of the most empowering posts I’ve ever read.

    On a recent trip to Barcelona, I noticed emu eggs in their extraordinarily beautiful market…midway between chicken and ostrich eggs in size.

    Reading your essay, I realized that not only am I sometimes afraid of dropping the OSTRICH egg…but I’m sometimes fearful of dropping the emu-egg-sized things, the chicken-egg-sized things and even the robin’s-egg-sized things!!

    And, worst of all, I’ve worried about the things that don’t even have an egg’s worth of risk in them!!

    Thanks for the wake-up omelet…cholesterol-free but truth-filled!

  12. Gina Says:

    that whole thing was for me. i dont know if anyone else was directly spoken too but I thank GOD because it was for me. The top 4 things on the list are issues I am currently working through. Thank GOD for you and may he be a blessing to you and yours on this day. Amen.

  13. FourMinuteSmiler Says:

    I live in Bethnal Green and have spoken to survivors of that day. Of course they were scared – and with good reason. There were not scared just of sirens, but also of the anti-aircraft guns being fired nearby and the very real possibility of being killed the way people in London, their friends, neighbours and family, were being killed every day. In case this should ever happen to me, would you be so kind as to let me know which part of the experience I should be embracing – I’d hate to fail to see the positive!

  14. Jeri Kunkel Says:

    That was awesome! Thanks so much for your words of encouragement!

  15. Pieter Linden Says:


    Interesting article! In one of my previous jobs, I was hired for a temporary assignment that was supposed to last about 5 weeks.

    Things were good at the beginning, but only when I reached Thanksgiving (about 3 weeks into the assignment) did I snap out of it and sit down and count my blessings – yes, I got out a piece of paper and started making a list. Then I posted the list on the wall next to me, and whenever another thing to be grateful for came to mind, I added it to the list. Okay, so what?

    Then funny things started to happen… It made me focus on GIVING blessing instead of getting blessing. And as a result, that was what I saw and brought into my experience. Every challenge I had at work (and there were many) resolved itself – the answers were mostly obvious (although implementing them wasn’t always easy).

    What I learned, more than anything, was that to end rightly, I had to begin rightly. And once I did that, all the would-be problems or challenges just took care of themselves. And as soon as I forgot to ACT on the lessons I had learned, the torrent of manna ceased. (It had me asking “Is this all for ME?”)

    The truth is, I was so busy trying to be a blessing, I didn’t have time or inclination to be afraid. I was too busy following direction. Besides, I was having too much fun and learning too much to get down!

    So I guess PASSION is obvious and somewhat contagious. Loving what you do helps you excel at it. It’s not like work – it’s FUN!!

  16. Linda Mink Says:

    Dear Dan,

    In my wallet, l carry the following quote from the movie Dune (1984):

    “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past, l will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only l will remain.”

    Susan Jeffers also has a great book, “Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway!”, and recently released a sequel to this.

    Thanks Dan.

    God bless,

    Linda (Australia)

  17. Jackie Says:

    Hy there,

    I have really been uplifted by this message. There are things am ought to have done by now but i have been delaying them. Thanks alot i think it is fear and i will now pull my socks and do them.

    Keep up with the good work.



  18. Pam Says:

    What a helpful and healthy perspective! You are an encouragement to me.

  19. Judy Says:

    Wonderful article! I have never been big on change, but I am starting to open myself to it now. I need to quit my job to save my body (37 years on computers hurts and so does the stress of my job!). So, I am trying to sell my 4/3 house and will move in with Mom for now. From there, I will pray for when God releases me from the job and shows me which eggs to pick up!

    Hey – I know how to make some really good omelets too!

    Thanks Dan!

  20. Daphne Says:

    I’m nea to your blog and this post was perfectly timed. I needed to hear this. Thank you so much for sharing.

  21. Frankie Says:

    Thank you, I really needed to read this. Fear does keep us from doing things because our problem seems greater than anything else even God. Fear also robs us from moving forward with the great ideas that God has placed in our hearts. Thank you.

  22. Timothy Fowler Says:


    I am almost 55 Dan and ready finally to live my passions. You are a big reason. Thanks,

  23. Tony Hollowell Says:

    When I was considering opening my business last spring, I was pretty nervous because of “the economy”. However, I realized that opening a business in a down economy is one of the best times to start a business because everything was 50% off! I know I stretched my $5000 to about $20,000 worth of goods and services because I just negotiated everything.

    Right now, alot of people see reasons to not start a business, but I think Dan is right to state that beyond the fear is opportunity and joy.

    A quote that was hanging on the wall of an Irish pub said, “Fear knocked. Faith answered. Nobody was there.”

    Thanks for the book, Dan. It rocked!

  24. linklings, apparently-I-read-a-lot-on-the-internet-this-week edition | brip blap Says:

    […] Don’t drop that egg!: I just recently started listening to Dan Miller’s podcast and reading his blog. This was an enjoyable post on the idea that sometimes you fear things so much you can’t even see other opportunities. […]

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