A new year has dawned and countless behavioral change resolutions have been made. No doubt many of those will have been broken by the time you read this.Humans are creatures of habit. Our good habits go largely unnoticed but our bad habits are always under the spotlight’s glare. We may not be able to see them but everyone around us can. Our egos often will not let us acknowledge our negative traits and, thus, we allow them to take over our lives.To change the way we act, we must change the way we think. In Proverbs it is written, ‘As ye think, so shall ye be’.Consider, this ancient parable passed down by generations of Indian masters:A traveler from India went to Africa to acquire some local products and animals and, while in the jungle, he saw thousands of beautiful, multicolored talking parrots. He decided to capture a talking parrot and take it back as his pet. At home, he kept his parrot in a cage. He fed the bird and gave him wonderful seeds and honey and played music for his pet.Generally, he treated the parrot very well.When it was time for the man to return to Africa two years later, he asked his parrot if there was any message that he could deliver to the parrot’s friends who were back in the jungle.After some thought, the parrot told his master to say that he was very happy in his cage and that he was enjoying each day and to convey his love to his feathered friends.When the traveler arrived back in Africa, he delivered the message to the parrots in the jungle where he had captured his pet.Just as he finished his story, a parrot with tears welling up in his eyes fell over dead.The man was alarmed and decided that the parrot must have been very close to the parrot in the cage and that this was probably the reason for the bird’s sadness and for his demise.When the traveler returned to India, he told his pet parrot what had happened.As he finished his story, the pet parrot’s eyes welled up with tears and he keeled over dead in his cage.The man was astounded but he figured that his pet died from the despair of hearing of the death of his close friend back in the jungle.The trader opened up the cage and tossed the dead bird outside onto the trash heap.Immediately, the pet parrot flew up to a branch on a nearby tree.The trader said to him, ‘˜So, you’re not dead after all. Why did you do that? You tricked me!’The parrot responded, Because that bird back in Africa sent me a very important message.’’What was the message,’ the trader wanted to know.”˜He told me that if you want to escape from your cage, you must die while you are alive,’ the former pet answered.Do your bad habits or your ego have you locked in a cage? If so, the way out is not complicated. It may be difficult but it is not complicated.Sometimes we must indeed die while we are alive in order to be able to look back on our lives and see ourselves trapped in the cage or cages of our own creation.Ponder this as 2017 dawns. Subdue your ego and concentrate on doing for others rather than yourself.You will be amazed at the transformation.Walter Geiger is editor and publisher of The Herald Gazette and Pike County Journal Reporter.