We had our first rain of the season this week... and with the rain comes a trail of ants leading to shelter (our office).
As I readied to exterminate the insects, I stopped to marvel a bit at these incredible creatures.
Ants are social insects from the family Formicidae (close relatives to wasps and bees) and have now inhabited the earth now for some 120 million years.
There are 22,000 known species of ants living on every continent except Antarctica (which I thought was ironic because it starts with Ant)...
Ants live in colonies that can be as little as a few hundred or up to several millions individuals (I’m almost certain that the colony that has invaded my office is the several million variety).
There are 4 different types of ants:
- Workers - These ants are sterile females who are smaller and tend the nest
- Soldiers - These ants are sterile males whose job it is to forage for food and protect the nest
- Drones - These ants are fertile males who mate with the queen and have wings
- Queens - These are fertile females who can lay thousands of eggs each day
I sat for a moment, observing their movements.
Three things immediately jumped out at me...
First, ants seem highly organized. They march in a straight line to a food source... one after another... never venturing off the set path.
Ants know their job and perform it well. They don’t need any extra encouragement, an incentive program or "management"... they just perform as individuals for the good of the whole colony.
Secondly, I noticed that all ants seem to be in a big hurry. They appear to live with a sense of urgency with their lives. I’ve never seen an ant just sitting around doing nothing. Ants don’t feel the need to relax, take a vacation or go out to a local bar to unwind.
Thirdly, I noticed that when I placed an obstacle in their path and disrupted their line... they scattered for a moment... but within a short amount of time, the ants regrouped and found a way around the obstacle and continued their work. Ants never seem to quit and always seem to have an intended purpose.
My observations led me to start thinking about the ants and how we might apply some of their innate principles to model our own lives.
Human beings are also social creatures... just like ants. We live by a set of organized rules that allows us to maintain a civilized society.
In general, we individually seek our place in that society and work together to produce a better life for all members of our community.
This organization allows us the freedoms and liberties to pursue different endeavors and passions. It gives us the opportunity to live a balanced life rather than a singly focused life (foraging for food for the colony).
And although we have the freedoms to pursue these passions... so many of us chose to wallow away our time by not doing... rather we prefer to watch others do...
Life is about doing... not watching.
It is not merely the passing of time waiting until an end but rather it’s about collecting varied experiences and making social connections.
We sit at home watching "Dancing with the Stars"... instead of learning to dance and becoming stars ourselves...
We sit at home and watch sporting events instead of going out to the gym or playing a sport. And in by doing so, we’re also creating a healthy body for ourselves...
We sit at home and watch reality TV... when we could be living a life that is so interesting that we inspire others and help them to create their own experiences...
Ants also seem to be working hardest in the summer time in preparation of a barren winter.
When times are good... ants are busy working harder than ever. They understand that good times can’t last forever... so they prepare themselves... in advance... for times of need.
Ants are pessimists during good times... always thinking about things that might impede their path to success and planning... especially during the bad times that may lie ahead.
Ants don’t rely on the assistance of others or a government... they are self-reliant... always staying busy and trying to discover new sources of food that will sustain their colony during the cold winter months.
If ants are pessimists during good times... they are optimists during the bad times.
They understand that eventually there will be day time after night time... there will be a spring after the winter... and tomorrow will bring a brand new day.
Ants don’t suffer from victimization of the mind... full of negative thoughts... no matter what they find ways to succeed.
If I arbitrarily placed some obstacle in their well-defined path... they didn’t sit around and fret about it... they didn’t say "why me?"... instead... they got busy... and quickly found an alternative path to achieve their objective...
Ants are can-do individuals... nothing seems to stop their momentum forward...
Ants embody the essence of the human experience... good versus evil... overcoming adversity to succeed... beating overwhelming odds in order to win... individual sacrifice for the betterment of the team.
We want the adventure... the quest... the game... and we want to share those experiences with others...
Winning and losing are all a part of life... we shouldn’t be afraid of living life because we might lose or because its not going the way we first planned...
If we fail, we need to find a way to pick ourselves up and figure out a way to overcome the obstacles placed in front of us and find a way to our intended goal.
And if we should happen to stumble or fail... don’t worry... tomorrow will always bring us another adventure... another battle... another challenge waiting for us just around the bend...
Negative thoughts can paralyze us from creating action... yet it’s the only action that will cause us to eventually win.
Let winning drive out losing...
Let confidence drive out doubt...
Let joy drive away sadness...
Be wary of the thief trying to steal your wallet... but also be wary of the naysayer trying to steal your promise...
After watching my little friends for a bit longer, I decided that it was finally time to get some work done as the day was bright with new opportunities...
I felt a bit of remorse as I fumigated the ants into extermination... but in reality they are indeed pests and had ventured into my personal space so they had to go.
Although they were gone for the moment... I know that they will eventually overcome and return to my office once again... because they are ants... and that’s what ants do...
Thank you very much for your support of OptiFuse where we attempt to work like ants to provide you with great products and outstanding customer experiences.
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