Photo credit: www.designbolts.com
By LAY HSUAN, LIM
Which one stands out more – the book or the bookshelf? The response, I would think, is quite obvious; a book is where you find great stories and lively snapshots or illustrations. (Unless you’re an interior designer who’s probably thinking on how to beautify or repurpose your bookshelf!)
I initially wanted to write about lessons of love and forgiveness learnt from Disney’s well-crafted story of Maleficent, the antagonist we’ve always associated with Sleeping Beauty.
Alas, whilst halfway through writing, I found too many articles written about the main character. And if I had continued, it would seem like I was just regurgitating what’s already out there.
Right. So, where am I getting at? I finally thought, “Why not write about Diaval, the black raven?”
So, here are four priceless traits we can take away from this unassuming character in the movie – what I’d call the “bookshelf” character.
1. Agility and dependability
Diaval: And in return for saving my life, I am your servant. Whatever you need.
Maleficent: Wings. I need you to be my wings.
Come to think of it, Diaval isn’t just Maleficent’s “wings”. He is also her eyes and ears on all events that are taking place in King Stefan’s castle.
He becomes Maleficent’s sidekick by gathering the human soldiers to her in the form of a wolf. He hastens her journey to the king’s palace in the form of a horse.
He also fights a good fight against the king’s men when he becomes a dragon.
Depending on Maleficent’s whim and fancy, Diaval takes on his various roles, albeit grudgingly sometimes, but always accomplishing what he needed to do.
You know you have such people in your team when you can trust them to complete what they’ve been assigned to do without having to constantly micromanage and monitor their work.
Have you identified such people in your team? What have you done to appreciate them?
2. Sensibility and counsel
(Outside the cottage, Maleficent was using her magic to play a prank on the three fairies. She sees Diaval, in his human form, watching her disapprovingly.)
Maleficent: Oh, come on. That’s funny.
Above all, in the human form, Diaval plays an excellent moral compass and a confidant to Maleficent, to the point of confronting Maleficent on several occasions about her behaviour towards Aurora and others.
His intention is noble. He realises that Maleficent is not as heartless and cold as she has made herself out to be, seeing how she saved little Aurora from falling off a cliff.
In his eyes, there is still hope in Maleficent becoming a better version of herself, especially after he senses a certain degree of care blossoming between her and Aurora.
Perhaps you have made several bad decisions in the past, which disappointed your entire team. To them, you may have lost your credibility as a leader with your misjudgment.
Whilst others have given up on you, is there someone who still believes that you are able to redeem yourself from your past mistakes?
3. Faithfulness and loyalty
Diaval: I need you, Diaval. I can’t do this without you, Diaval.
(Uttered in sarcasm while following Maleficent to King Stefan’s castle even after she gives him an option to leave her to confront the king on her own.)
Diaval’s loyalty towards Maleficent is unquestionable. Even though he occasionally complains about his form, I believe he is always grateful to Maleficent for saving him from the clutches of human entrapment.
He knows fully well that the both of them might not come out of King Stefan’s castle alive. But he honours his pledge of servitude to Maleficent, and is even willing to die protecting her.
Are you able to identify some of your greatest supporters? Have you acknowledged their work? Or is there recognition overdue?
4. Love and kindness
Maleficent: True love’s kiss? Have you not worked it out yet? I cursed her that way because there is no such thing.
Diaval: Well, that might be how you feel, but what about Aurora? That boy could be her only chance. It’s her fate, anyway.
Diaval’s love for Aurora is evident throughout the movie.
From the moment he breaks the news to Maleficent that there had been a child by King Stefan and the Queen, he appears concerned about what Maleficent would do to the child.
In Aurora’s early years, Diaval is always looking out for her, like a guardian angel. He even goes above and beyond his official “job scope” by caring for the needs of Aurora.
We see that Diaval, in his bird form, brings baby Aurora a flower with water for her to drink before he starts rocking her crib to put her at ease.
As Aurora becomes older, the handsome black raven often plays with the princess.
Take a step back and reflect on the people who have shown you such generosity without expecting anything in return. Who are these people in your life? How do you intend to reciprocate their kindness and love?
In personal or professional relationships, “Diavals” are a rare gem. You can always count on them in good or bad times for encouragement, help, wisdom and strength.
May we always be grateful for the “bookshelves” that have supported us in our journey to become a person who is rich in love and big at heart.
Listen to the podcast to find out about second chair leadership and how it relates to Diaval: