All of us tend to look up to big people for lessons on how to get better. We are keen to learn the secrets of their success. But we forget that sometimes the biggest lessons in life come from the smallest folks around us.
Take ants for instance. Would you believe those small creatures can teach us how to live a better life? Jim Rohn – the great motivational guru – developed what he called the ‘Ants Philosophy’.
He identified four key lessons from the behaviour of ants that can help us lead better lives. Jim Rohn is no more – but his messages continue to inspire. Here then, are the four lessons from Rohn’s ‘Ants Philosophy’.
1. Ants never quit. Have you noticed how ants always look for a way around an obstacle? Put your finger in an ant’s path and it will try and go around it, or over it. It will keep looking for a way out. It won’t just stand there and stare. It won’t give up and go back.
There will always be obstacles in our lives. The challenge is to keep trying, keep looking for alternative routes to get to our goals. Winston Churchill probably paraphrased the ant’s mindset when he offered this priceless advice: “Never give up. Never, never give up!”
2. Ants think winter all summer. Remember the old story of the ant and the grasshopper? In the middle of summer, the ant was busy gathering food for the winter ahead – while the grasshopper was out having a good time. Ants know that summer – the good times – won’t last forever. Winters will come. When the going is good, don’t be so arrogant as to believe that a crisis or a setback cannot happen to you. Be good to other people. Save for a rainy day. Look ahead. And remember, good times may not last, but good people do.
3. Ants think summer all winter. As they suffer through the unbearable cold of the winter, ants keep reminding themselves that it won’t last forever, and that summer will soon be here. And with the first rays of the summer sun, the ants come out – ready to work, ready to play. When we are down and seemingly out, when we go through what looks like a never-ending crisis, it’s good to remind ourselves that this too shall pass. Good times will come. It’s important to retain a positive attitude, an attitude that says things will get better. As the old saying goes, tough times don’t last. Tough people do.
4. Ants do all they possibly can. How much food does an ant gather in summer? All that it possibly can! Now that’s a great work ethic to have. Do all you can! One ant doesn’t worry about how much food another ant is collecting. It does not sit back and wonder why it should have to work so hard. Nor does it complain about the poor pay! Ants just do their bit. They gather all the food they can. Success and happiness are usually the result of giving 100% – doing all you possibly can. If you look around you, you’ll find that successful people are those who just do all they possibly can.
Follow the four simple steps of Jim Rohn’s ‘Ant Philosophy’ – and you’ll see the difference.
Don’t quit. Look ahead. Stay positive. And do all you can.
And there’s just one more lesson to learn from ants. Did you know that an ant can carry objects up to 20 times their own weight? Maybe we are like that too. We can carry burdens on our shoulders and manage workloads that are far, far heavier than we’d imagine. Next time something’s bothering you and weighing you down, and you feel you just can’t carry on, don’t fret. Think of the little ant. And remember, you too can carry a lot more on your shoulders!
Courtesy: Prakash Iyer is MD, Kimberly-Clark and Executive Coach.