How to Live Like a Fox

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That is one foxy fox. (photo by peggycadigan)

Foxes are cool. They’d be even cooler if they were “foxi” in plural. Here’s how to live like a fox.

Use Your Available Tools Like the Fox Uses Its Tail

The fox tail — What? Yes, I know it’s cute. Would I snuggle with a fox? No, I would not snuggle with a wild animal.

Did you know that the fox’s furry appendage does more than just attract vixens and snuggle-prone humans? Fox tails are like a swiss army knife. They help them to balance, they are used to signal other foxes, and cutest of all, they are used as a makeshift blanket in cold weather.

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Okay, FINE. I’LL SNUGGLE FOR A FEW MINUTES. THAT’S IT. (photo by ucumari)

The fox makes the most of its tail. To live like a fox, then, we must make the most of the tools at our disposal. There’s one tool that stands apart as particularly underutilized—the internet. In our modern age, we can access the internet in many different ways and at almost all times. With cell phones, tablets, and computers, the internet is with us about as much as a tail is for a fox.

Many people use the internet to entertain themselves endlessly. There’s nothing wrong with entertainment—I love it too—but this is only one use of the computer and internet. On the internet, you can learn about anything you can possibly think about, and probably for free. I learned more about foxes for this article by looking online and it was easy.

Not only is the internet a source of endless information, but it’s a powerful tool for communication. You can get jobs, make friends, and make a difference in the world by using the internet. Are you using this powerful resource to its fullest potential? Let’s take a cue from the fox and leverage the amazing tools we have by seeing more of their potential uses.

Be Clever, Be Strategic

Bill Leikam is known by friends as “The Fox Guy” because he’s studied foxes for five years in San Francisco. On Quora, he explained the clever way a fox will protect its family:

“At this time of year when the foxes, both red and gray, are denned up with their mates, ready to have their new litters, if one comes too close to the natal den, the male fox will intentionally lead a person away, remaining just out of reach but enough for one to follow. Once far from the den, the fox will head back into the brush, slip past and return to his mate and their den.”

The fox leads the potential threat away from his family, and such misdirection is a more effective way to protect them because it conceals their very presence. This mirrors what I say about strategy. Most people will by default resist some things directly (think the fox taking a threatening/attacking stance in front of the den), but the clever and strategic person will find a way to win without fighting. Just like the fox has learned, misdirection is usually the best way to get a desired result without having to fight for it.

Instead of banning yourself from something, you can devise clever ways to redirect your behavior. If you want to drink less soda (a good idea), have a healthier alternative on hand (I suggest 100% fruit juice, not straight, but a little bit to flavor a glass of water). When you feel tempted to drink soda, drink the substitute. You’ll find more ideas for food misdirection in my upcoming book, Mini Habits for Weight Loss. The concept to absorb is to always think strategically and question the obvious choice.

Know Your True North

If you’re not yet impressed by the fox, you will be now. Foxes can sometimes be seen jumping high into the air and plunging down head first into the snow. And sometimes, they emerge with a field mouse! How is this possible? Scientists believe the fox uses the earth’s magnetic field to home in on its prey three feet deep in the snow. As the following National Geographic video states, “There’s a catch. He almost always comes up empty handed… unless he’s facing North. […] But if he’s got the North Pole in his sights, he’s guaranteed a meal nearly 75% of the time.”

Isn’t this just like our lives? When we’re not sure why we’re doing what we’re doing, it’s almost always going to be a misfire. But when we know exactly why and where our “True North” is, our attempts are usually going to propel us in the right direction or at least teach us a valuable lesson about how to do it better next time. To live like a fox, you must know your True North.

What are you truly striving for in life? Don’t think in terms of money or fame, because those are merely means to other ends. Some people want money for the freedom it provides. Some people want fame for the widespread approval it often comes with.

Personally, I strive for freedom in my life. I want to do what I want to do and control my schedule. That’s why I write articles about living like foxes and write books that take a long time and too much work. My real breakthrough happened when I realized that I enjoyed the work itself because I love helping others and being a positive difference in the world. That seems to be my True North. Once I started working under that premise and goal, I had more success.  

When you are able to identify your True North(s), you will have the full power of all your being behind your efforts. Like a fox, all of your senses and energy will combine into your best effort. There’s nothing more important than your True North, so you won’t have any doubts that you should be heading in another direction. Then, you’ll dive head-first into the snow and emerge with a field mouse, or you know, the human version of that.

The fox is a cunning, cool-tailed animal with an impressive magnetic connection to the earth. If you decide to live more like a fox, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. At the very least, you’ll become a better snow diver.

This is a part of the Live Like Animals series. Here are some other ones you might enjoy: Shark | Eagle | Jellyfish | Snake | Anglerfish

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