We live in cities filled with concrete and glass, walk on asphalt and live our lives without realizing the fact that, really, we are animals. The way we live, work, run a business … we believe we can leave our instinct behind and disconnect from nature, as if that would make us more efficient, more logical people and therefore more successful.
And it is not like that. We need to restore that bond that unites us to the rest of the animal world, to observe and think. And maybe we have something to learn from other creatures that can help us understand ourselves as well as the functioning of social relationships and even business.
Today I start this series of articles in which I will show that nature is full of lessons and inspiration.
Ants and the flooding.
The ants are very small insects, so small that they seem insignificant. Even fragile. They are nothing compared to us. Or so we think. Yet they are capable of feats that we are not.
Fire ants or red ants have a special ability when facing adversity. But there is no anthill, no matter how perfectly it’s built and organised, that can survive a flood.
Water is a powerful force which neither a little ant nor us, humans, can resist. Water sweeps everything away: houses, businesses … leaves entire regions devastated and full of pain, destroys nests, burrows and anthills. But fire ants have a quick reaction.
When the water reaches the colony, the ants are organised in a matter of seconds, all together in a large mass of legs and antennae, they bring the queen and the young whom they take to the safest part of the great raft of ants they are creating. Both the queen and larvae are very important to protect as the survival of the colony in a new home depends on them.
Thus, thousands of ants instantly develop the ability to swim and to survive until they find a new place on dry land where to form their colony.
It is true that some will be lost along the way, and some will be hunted by predators. But all the ants keep swimming together, more united with each loss because a single gap will make the rest of the colony sink. They keep floating together because otherwise none of them will survive and the colony will die.
Union makes force.
Like ants and the flooding, a force they cannot control, we are not as strong as individuals as we can be together.
Support of people around us is vital in overcoming any difficulty and we must learn to let go of the belief that asking for help makes us weak. In certain situations in life we will always be weak, a priori, and the only way out is to work together.
In the business world the behaviour of fire ants should make us think about how we behave as partners or in a crisis situation and about how we should behave.
If ants can survive weeks sailing together through the flood, what could we do if we are united?
One gap can sink the colony, and an ant that let’s go to try to save itself, will eventually drown. The difference is that they know it.
In the end the animal world and human society are not that different.