What poisonous zombie tsunami sharks can teach us about achieving realistic goals

“What would happen if a Tsunami came here?” my youngest son asked as he brought over his latest creation. It was a drawing featuring a tiny mound of brown in the lower left-hand corner. A large blue backward C shape filled the rest of the page. I looked at the picture. I looked at my son. Clearly, the island was toast.

“Maybe it would be okay. They might have had advanced warning,” I suggested. “Or maybe there are boats that could help them float away?”

It was a slim excuse at best (I’ve seen what a Tsunami can do to a small boat), but I was going to go with it. My youngest is only five (for another week). Who wants to talk about a disaster from which there is no hope of escape with someone that age?

LT’s eyes narrowed as he glanced at his artwork. “I’ll be back.” He ran off to the other room.

He returned with another drawing of a giant wave. This one even larger than the one before. “How about now?”

Note the use of bold strokes, repeated forms, and the inclusion of a single cloud on an otherwise clear day. Here the artist is expressing the futility of man when confronted by nature’s might.

I looked at the poor island in the picture. Then another feature caught my eye. Dark triangles poking out of the second wave’s curl. “Wait. Are those sharks?”

LT grinned. Both of my children are well aware of my, let’s say, lack of fondness, for Selachimorpha in all its variations and take an inordinate amount of joy in watching my reaction.

“You drew a Tsunami with sharks.”

LT’s eyes twinkled as he nodded. “What would happen, now?” he asked. “Would we die?”

I’m not sweating. “Maybe not. You could punch the sharks in the nose or use the Bat-shark repellent.” LT wants to be Batman, correction – The Batman Weatherman, when he grows up, so it should almost go without saying he’ll have a ready case of Bat-shark repellent on hand for just such an emergency.

“What if they were poison sharks?”

“Poison?! Umm… er… there might be an antidote-”

“What if they were zombies too?”

I blinked. I looked at my husband, was he hearing what I was? His grin matched that of our son’s. Yep. He shook his head at me as if to say, what are you gonna do? I turned back to our little creator of the next made-for-TV, cheesy creature feature. “Poisonous Zombie Sharks? In a Tsunami?”

Poisonous Zombie Sharks - www.alliepottswrites.com
I’m confident sales will smash all box office expectations. (In case you are wondering, yes, this is the sort of thing I do in my spare time).

Okay, I have to admit it’s a genius idea, but every now and then I have to wonder if there is something about that boy that just isn’t right.

LT was almost cackling with manic glee at this point. Delighted with his cleverness, but unable to speak, he could only nod again.

Seeing no alternative – no stick figure on the island representing a scientist who had up until this point been the laughing stock of his profession, but was now humanity’s last hope against the coming killer tide – I had to give up. “Well, I guess, then yeah, we would all probably die.”

Apparently, this was the answer LT was going for the whole time. Satisfied, he ran off to create additional masterpieces.

I’ve mentioned before, my youngest knows how to achieve his goals and close a deal. The first step to doing either is to go in knowing what you want going out.

The same can be said about storytelling. It’s far easier to tell a joke if you know the punchline just as it is far easier to write a book if you know the ending.

But while having a goal in mind can keep you focused, it is also important to allow yourself the flexibility to deviate from the plan. I’m pretty sure that the inclusion of poison and zombies was a spur of the moment decision (though with LT one really never knows). All he wanted was for me to confirm that his island was a complete loss, but he allowed our conversation to detour, evolve, and refine until the end result was even better than the one he originally imagined.

Many of us made resolutions at the beginning of the year and many of us have already broken them once or twice. You don’t need my permission, but I want you to know that’s okay. Life happens. Zombie sharks may appear in waves.

The important thing is remembering the reason for the resolution in the first place. Ask yourself what is the underlying need and keep asking until you know the answer by heart and adjust your plan accordingly.

Who knows? When you finally reach your goal and look back, the path you wound up taking might prove even better than the one you first imagined.



41 thoughts on “What poisonous zombie tsunami sharks can teach us about achieving realistic goals

  1. Really a special message from your little son, there is one thing to keep in mind is “your big why”.

    In goals achievement a big why can change the whole scene.

    The more one focus on it the more he/she will achieve theirs goals faster .

    I liked it and hope to see posts like this more. Thanks Mom and son.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you liked it.

      Knowing your big why is critically important. It’s like taking a trip. If you don’t take the time to find your destination on a map before setting out, you might miss your turn or run out of gas long before you get there.

      Thanks for visiting.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. He views himself more as an illustrator at the moment. He says his brother can do the writing. He’ll just come up with the ideas in the form of pictures.

      And isn’t it going to be awesome?! I can’t wait.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Gotta love your son’s imagination – he must get that from his mom! Interesting at this age how a child needs to hear how bad things need to get before ‘we all die.’ Perhaps it’s helpful, because it’s so unlikely you’ll experience a poisonous shark-infested zombie tsunami. My 7-year-old grandson has been enamored with sharks since he was 4, and my daughter allows him his passion. He only wears t-shirts/sweatshirts/sweaters that have a shark on them (she’s been rather creative in her shopping) and he has read every book there is about sharks. I’ll have to ask him if he’s found a zombie shark yet…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I thought I had a decent imagination until I listened to some of the things he comes up with.

      I also can so relate with your daughter. Anything having to do with weather, natural disasters, or batman is a must.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, you have a blockbuster on your hands with this idea! Nice book cover, btw.

    Your line “allow yourself the flexibility to deviate from the plan” has been one of the most difficult concepts for me, a former perfectionist, to embrace. I’m mellow now, willing to follow the ebb and flow necessary to achieve my goals, but there was a time when I considered anything not on the plan to be failure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t the concept brilliant?! I really don’t know why it hasn’t been made yet.

      I struggle with it too. I’m a planner at heart so I have difficulty accepting that my plan might be wrong (I feel dirty typing that) and actually need adjustment.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. When I was about LT’s age I was obsessed with both volcanoes and sharks, but never thought to put the two of them together. I say let him ride the wave (pun intended) because clearly he has a budding future as a writer or movie producer.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. His imagination really is something. Today’s line of questions centered around a mountain surrounded by water which police needed to reach, but they had no boat and the waters were filled with dangerous beasts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just shared a fantastic article on Facebook about how 98% of five year olds are creative geniuses and the way we school them beats the creativity out of them. The decrease in the percentage of creative genius as the same children grow, is alarming, and as adults I think it was like 12% that still had some sort of imagination and creativity when trying to solve problems… We need to keep them harnassed into being creative!! Not let the National Curriculum beat it out of them!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That IS fascinating. I watched a TED talk which made a similar point. If you happen to have the link to the story handy, would you post it here?


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