Life Lessons From Some Of God’s Tiniest Creatures
Why would anyone want to think like an ant or be like a bee? Here’s why. If we want to create BIG changes in our lives, the best place to start is to think small. Very small. Ant small, honeybee small, inchworm small.
This kind of thinking totally flies in the face of the instant age we’re living today. We’ve been misled into believing everything should be fast and big. Make money, lose weight, get a meal on the table, learn a new language, write a book in 30 days. We want to achieve results in big gulps, and we’re conditioned to expect it in our 5G, microwave, Instant Pot, speed dating world. We want what we want when we want it, and today. Much of the time we can get it.
There’s an expectation of speed in achievement and huge, rapid leaps of progress these days. Small improvements don’t impress us much. I totally fell in love with the term “inch stones” the minute I heard it. Small, yet solid and measurable. But we need to take an even closer look at that. Let’s widen our lens and zoom in for a peek at the way incremental improvements, as little as just 1% per day, create a dramatic effect on our progress by using the compounding effect of time.
One Percent Better Every Day
Here’s why. In the words of The Slight Edge author Jeff Olsen, these “baby steps” are easy to do and easy not to do. At the end of any single day, it doesn’t seem to have mattered. There’s no noticeable change immediately but over time it can have a huge impact on the outcome. He calls it “The Big Mo”, we know it as momentum.
James Altucher, one of my favorite bloggers, makes the math crystal clear in an article he wrote for Inc. Magazine. A one percent improvement each day makes you 38 times better in the course of a year! That’s a hard concept to quantify but in simple terms it’s easy. Every good decision inches us further along the path to what we can become.
A thousand times a day we make what are sometimes called micro–decisions. We can always make the better choice. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Eat the fruit instead of the donut. Read a good book, talk to your child, or sink into the couch for more soul-sucking, mind-numbing TV. Another favorite author, Matthew Kelly, simply calls it “doing the next right thing.”
We humans don’t always catch on real quick and it’s understandable. It’s hard to place value on slow and steady in a world of hot and ready. In a world of 24/7/365, always on and instant access, it’s boring. Baby steps, incremental improvements, and inchworm speed just seem obsolete and old school you know?
But the truth is that most of the time, big changes take more time than we expect. The benchmark of becoming an expert in any field is 10,000 hours of focused effort. It can take 20 years of work to become an “overnight success.”
What Can Ants Teach Us?
Ants are masters of consistently applied effort. We need to take a lesson from these hard-working little insects! And, we need to adopt some wisdom from ants if we want to make positive changes in our life. Jim Rohn described it this way years ago, and it still rings true today.
Ants never quit!! That’s a good philosophy. If ants are headed somewhere and you try to stop them; they’ll look for another way. They’ll climb over, they’ll climb under and they’ll climb around. They keep looking for another way. What a neat philosophy, to never quit looking for a way to get where you’re supposed to go.
Ants think all you possibly can! How much will an ant gather during the summer to prepare for the winter? All he possibly can. Ants don’t have quotas or “good enough” philosophies. They don’t gather a certain amount and then head back to the hole to hang out. If an ant can do more, it does. What an incredible philosophy, the “all-you-possibly-can” philosophy.
“The truth is, what you do matters. What you do today matters. What you do everyday matters.” ~Jeff Olsen
Think Like An Ant, Focus Like An Inchworm
Inchworms are an incredible example of focus and determination. Here’s what they can teach us.
Decide on a direction. An inchworm doesn’t stop to think how long it will take, it just decides where it wants to be.
Make a move. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Sometimes moving in a new direction may start by simply inching forward.
Stretch yourself. With every inch forward you begin to stretch yourself in the direction you’ve chosen.
Keep on moving. Go an inch, then go another. The important thing is to keep moving in the right direction and even if every step seems small, you’ll get there.
“Inch by inch, life’s a cinch. Yard by yard, life’s hard.”~John Bytheway
Think Like An Ant And Be Like A Bee
Bees might be my favorite tiny personification of living with purpose. The single little honeybee is an exemplary role model! And does she ever know how to serve her community! One honeybee produces only 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime but her tiny contribution counts! A bee colony is an exemplary community where everyone does their part.
There are 64 teaspoons in a pound of honey. Two million flowers must be visited to produce 1 pound of honey. A hive of bees must fly 55,000 miles to produce it. One bee colony can produce 60 to 100 pounds of honey per year of honey in a year. When they all work together, that’s a whole bunch of honey! Always remember even your 1/12th of a teaspoon really does matter in the big picture!!
Inchstone Living Will Produce Milestone Results
We were created by God from love. His divine purpose for us is to become the best possible version of who He designed us to be. What we become is infinitely more important than what we have or do, so the choices become quite obvious. Live life inch by inch, drop by drop, day by day, do the next right thing, one small step at a time. Make this your aim and you will see life with new eyes and every day can be a beautiful adventure.
“Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.” ~ Stephen Covey