Friday, 22 March 2013

Turtle on a fencepost

“When you see a turtle on a fencepost you know it didn't get there by itself.” - Anonymous

Do not be a post turtle. Always be in your space. A turtle on a fencepost is not a success, but a failure.

Do you know who is a ‘post turtle’?

Any old US rancher may explain the phrase like this: "When you're driving down a country road and you see a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a post turtle. You know he didn't get up there by himself. He doesn't belong there; he can't get anything done while he's up there; and you just want to help the poor, dumb thing down."

Usually politicians who are placed on high positions they do not deserve are described as ‘post turtle’. Election season provides endless opportunity for this old jape.
The phrase "post turtle" can be applied to any seeker of high office who is attempting to rise above his native abilities and if successful he would be as out of place as a turtle on a fence post.

We are not sure of the exact definition of the phrase "post turtle”. Meaning varies a bit from telling to telling. Some variants are quoted below:

"Well, you know that turtle didn't get up there by himself. Someone's got to have put him up there. And if there's one thing you know, it's sooner or later that turtle's going to fall." (Associated Press, August 2008)
"You know he didn't get up there by himself, and he sure as heck doesn't belong up there, he doesn't know what to do up there and you just wonder what kind of an idiot put him up there in the first place." (Monterey County Herald, July 2008)
"It sure doesn't belong there, it didn't get there by itself and now that it's there it doesn't know what to do." (Buffalo News, April 2001)
"Ya' know he didn't get there by himself, he don't belong there, he can't get anything done while he's up there, and you just want to help take the poor thing down." (Chattanooga Times Free Press, March 2001)

Putting all the definitions of ‘post turtle’ to a crucible may deliver the meaning as more or less like this: It is any person who has been placed on a high post where he does not belong by merit and hence is destined to fail soon or later.

This can happen in politics, family business, corporate business, job, social organizations etc. One may take it for an instant success. But unmerited success is worse than failure. We are seeing many family business and corporate business tumbling down as the leadership changes. One may have many abilities except the particular ability needed for the particular post. Failure happens here not because he has no abilities, but because he is in the wrong space. A turtle when it is on a fencepost is in the wrong place.

Success is not reaching the top of the ladder; it is reaching the top of “your ladder”. It is reaching the ladder steps where you can sustain success. It is conquering the mountain with your own ability not on borrowed support. It is standing on your feet not supported by others.

All else are failure; worse than failure.

Professor Jacob Abraham

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