You are sitting outside relaxing and minding your own business when all of a sudden you feel something on your neck. You quickly slap at it thinking a fly landed on you and low and behold, when you pull your hand away, you find you have an ant crawling up the back of your neck.
One thing about ants is that you don’t usually encounter just one. You look at the ground and find a stream of ants marching by you. You jump up and move away yielding your turf to the little critters.
Ants can be quite annoying, but we can learn a lot from these tiny beings. Have you ever wondered what the world looks like from an ant’s perspective? I would imagine everything is huge to an ant.
Ants understand the concept of team work. They aren’t like stray cats. You don’t find ants wandering aimlessly around looking for sunbeams to take a nap in (I am not intending to offend cat lovers). For ants to accomplish anything, they must pool their resources together and recognize that they are better off collectively than individually.
When carrying a large object, there are other ants coming along side the ones doing the carrying who are ready to jump in and help out as needed. It is a seamless transition from one ant to another as they work together to collectively accomplish the task at hand.
The life of an ant is not one measured by personal accomplishments, but by the results of the team.
Ants determine a task and then give 100% to accomplish it without hesitation or distraction. If you try to break a trail of ants by putting something in their way, they won’t stop and ponder. They won’t give up and scatter in all directions. They will immediately go over the top or go around the obstacle seeking to continue their task.
In other words, a setback is only a brief event in the life of an ant. It is merely a blip on the screen. They will stay the course without hesitation. I have never seen a group of ants stop, huddle, and then decide if it is worth recreating the trail.
Ants understand the importance of hard work. From the time they begin their day to the time they end their day they are on the move. Movement makes things happen. If they made televisions small enough, you wouldn’t find ants sitting around watching the screen. Time is a premium for ants and hard work is a way of life, not something to complain about.
Ants aren’t intimidated by gigantic tasks. It is amazing what a team of ants can accomplish. Henry Ford once said “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Ants never think they can’t. They jump in with all “six” (they have more than four legs) and give everything they have to accomplish great things. If they fail, it is after endless efforts. You would never hear an ant say “I don’t think we can accomplish that.” They see a mountain that needs to be conquered and then they just rock and roll and see what happens.
Ants share with one another. When ants come upon food, they carry it back to the colony for the good of the group rather than consume it on the spot or haul it off and hide it for themselves for later. By understanding the colony rises and falls collectively, they pool their resources for the good of the group.
Ants are proactive by saving for rainy days. Ants understand in the summer that winter is ahead. They understand that for them to make it through winter they need to plan ahead. It is when the weather is beautiful that ants prepare for the storms that will come. Saving in the good times for the down times is a great approach to life. It reduces stress and vulnerability for when the difficult seasons occur.
Ants have been around a long time. Proverbs 6:6-8 in the Old Testament written almost 3000 years ago tells us, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.”
Finally, ants get the job done. With teamwork, a strong work ethic, determination, persistence, and a “can do” attitude, give a group of ants a task and you will like the results.
My challenge to you is to seek many of the attributes of ants. Although small in size, there is a lot we can learn from them. The success of ants is because of their mind set.
Contribute your gifts for the good of the group. Focus on team results, not individual results. No task is too large. Don’t give up. Don’t let setbacks keep you from accomplishing what you need to accomplish. Keep moving, don’t stop. Maintain a strong work ethic without complaining. Prepare for rainy days ahead. Share with others.
Big lessons from little critters.
Just a thought...
Rick Kraft is a motivational speaker, a syndicated columnist, a published author, and an attorney. To submit comments, contributions, or ideas, e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to P.O. Box 850, Roswell, New Mexico, 88202-0850.