As you likely know, streaming services have provided us access to more video content than ever in history. We have thousands upon thousands of TV programs, movies, live events, and other shows available at our convenience.

Growing up, my father in particular had a fondness for documentary programs. Therefore, we watched many on television and from rentals at the local video store, Classic Sounds and Video. At the time, many of those were found on WTTW Channel 11, which is the local PBS station in the Chicagoland area. I think, for some reason, I’ve always been drawn to animal documentaries from National Geographic… especially those about dinosaurs and prehistoric critters.

I don’t remember why exactly I subscribed to Apple TV+… it had to have been for one specific show or event. But, I never bothered to cancel it. Therefore, I was pleased to discover Prehistoric Planet, a nature documentary, produced by Jon Favreau (just what ISN’T he doing?) and narrated by David Attenborough, which features extinct creatures from millions of years ago animated with stunning realism. This show comes from the creators of Planet Earth (which I have experienced in their entirety, though I have watched some), so one would expect top-notch quality, and I was not disappointed.

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

As enjoyable as it is to learn about these remarkable dinosaurs and reptiles, like others before me, I couldn’t help but to draw connections from their lives to life today.

  • All creatures (including people) are conceived.
  • All are born.
  • All grow.
  • All have various stressors and struggles of various magnitudes.
  • All have a specialization – a set of unique attributes – which make them fit for survival.
  • Many are social, and all require at least one mate to continue the species.
  • All have a purpose – to guard and defend, to nurture, to forage, to blaze trails, to navigate migrations, to hunt, etc.
  • Many work together in packs, herds, teams or other groups to meet their purpose.
  • All create waste (yes, they actually animated this in one of the episodes).
  • All die. 

I know it sounds trite, but like a pterosaur designed for flight, a T-Rex designed to be an apex predator, a mosasaur designed for aquatic life, or a hadrosaur designed to live as a plant eater, we each have our own unique set of gifts to help us adapt and thrive and to make our mark on the world.

I’ve taken quite a few assessments throughout the years, and I just took another one this week sponsored by ADP called StandOut from Marcus Buckinsgham. My results show that I am a “Connector” and a “Provider.” This correlates strongly to results from the StrengthsFinder, The Predictive Index, the StandardSDS, the “Big Five,” and other assessments. This kind of person is part of a tribe, is judicious about the relationships being made, but strives to make relationships work so they benefit everyone. Each person is treated as an individual, but all are connected to work harmoniously in groups. This kind of person intuitively knows how to help and to whom to turn for help, but also feels a need to see the results. Artists, musicians, designers, consultants, trainers and similar creatives fall into this type easily.

I’d like to think, perhaps, I’m descended from some herd-based dinosaur with a knack for getting in the middle of squabbles – likely with a soft underbelly and scarred armor – who helps clear the path and navigate for the rest of the herd on the orders of the alpha. Maybe some disagree?