Ep. #106 Ants: A Very Important Metaphor

Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Words That Move Me with Dana Wilson
Ep. #106 Ants: A Very Important Metaphor
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If you like insects, you’ll LOVE this episode.  Also if you like a good perspective shift to start the year off strong you will love this episode 😉  Real short and sweet, and REAL helpful: today I am talking about all of the ways we are smart, strong, and destructive. Just like ants! But also NOT like ants at all.

Quicklinks:

FREE Coaching Call January 13th 2021:

Register Here: https://thedanawilson.com/workwithme

Doing Daily Episode Playlist:

Ep #72. Does Dance Save Lives? w/ Dr. Adrienne Wilson Mann 

Vox Article: https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/5/29/17386112/all-life-on-earth-chart-weight-plants-animals-pnas

Transcript:

Intro: Welcome to Words That Move Me, the podcast where movers and shakers, like you, get the information and inspiration you need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host, Dana Wilson, and I move people. I am all about the tools and techniques that empower tomorrow’s leaders to make the work of their dreams and live a full life while doing it. So whether you’re new to the game or transitioning to your next echelon of greatness, you’re in the right place.

Dana: Hello. Hello and welcome. Welcome back. Long-time listener and hello, hello newcomers. I’m Dana and this is season three. This is 2022. Holy smoker roni’s. Wow. Um, I hope you had a fabulous holiday season and I hope you are, as I’m going to go with sensibly hopeful. If that’s the thing maybe responsibly hopeful for the year ahead is I am, uh, it was an unusual holiday season for me, but let me tell you what I received some serious gifts and I am dying to share one of them with you right now and right here at the top of the year.  

Um, so let’s do this, but first let’s do wins. We start every episode here with wins, because I think it’s important to celebrate the things that are going well, no matter how big or how small and today I’m celebrating a relatively small win. I think, I don’t know. You tell me today, I’m celebrating being back on that Peloton seven day streak of exercising, um, seven days in a row of rides and I’m feeling good about it. Actively excited to get on the bike. And last week I even did two rides in one day. And that type of pleasure from exercise does not come often or naturally for me. So I’m celebrating it and I’m choosing to it in hopes that that feeling might stick around for awhile. So that’s me. Uh, now you go, what’s going well in your world. What are you celebrating?  

Congrats, my friend, and keep on winning. I’m proud of you. You got this now, usually my first episode of every season and by every season, I mean the first two seasons, usually my first episode is about what call doing daily. Doing daily to me is the daily creative challenge that I took on. Um, back in 2014, it is the project that changed my life more than any other project. If, if you want to hear more about doing daily, or if you want a deeper dive on doing daily, I have a doing daily podcast playlist on my YouTube channel. Every episode from the podcast that even mentions doing daily goes into that playlist. Um, it is all there for you. And now it is in the show notes of this episode. So if you want to hear more specifically about that project, head on over to YouTube, check out the doing daily playlist, uh, enjoy that, but I will not be talking about doing daily today, not directly anyways.  

Um, I’ll get to why a little bit later, but let’s get into this. Okay. My sister, who is a physician and a coach and a mother and many, many splendid things, oh and she’s also a podcast guest by the way, way back in season two, which was literally one episode ago, uh, she is episode 72 and she is a gift period. But over the break, she gifted me this thought, uh, one night when, when she and I were feeling, especially at odds with our ultimate lack of control over the entire world and all of the people in it. Um, she gifted me this thought and the thought is that we are all ants. Yep. And it’s not, aunt’s not auntie like I am the auntie or aunt of her two daughters, but ants, as in the insects, we are all small. We are all in consequential. We busy ourselves all day, every day. And at any moment, big foot can come stomping down on us and destroy all of our hard work and ultimately kill us.  

Yes, pretty grim. I know it’s kind of funny actually that my sister would offer me that thought because I think of her as being perpetually optimistic. Um, but this thought in this moment struck me as a fact, like I really really thought, yes, humans are small and in consequential and we busy ourselves to an end that we don’t know, like, what is this all for? We can’t see it. We don’t know what it is. Survival? I guess. Well, I guess in some ways, yeah, we are small statistically speaking human beings. Hmm. Yes let’s find some statistics . They are important. That that would be fun.  

Whoa. Uh, okay. I’ve done a little research here and I found a very helpful infographic. It turns out humans, make up, and I quote a very, very small percentage of our total planetary biomass. So apparently a lot of the massive the world is bacteria. A lot of it’s fungi and some amount of it is human beings says the internet. Oh my God. Okay. I’m going to actually link to this Vox article that I’m referencing right now because these graphs are staggering. Um, I quote, if we zoom in on all animal life, just animal life on the planet, we see that insects actually outweigh human beings. And as far as mass on earth goes, insects outweigh humans by a factor of 17, which actually this is an incredible even mollusks like clams and mussels, et cetera, way more than humans on earth. Okay. That truly is mind-blowing especially given the analogy that we are like ants. I digress.  

We are small. All right. At very least we don’t weigh very much, but are we inconsequential? Although global warming would suggest the opposite. The bottom line is that the world will keep turning. Someone will leave a shady comment on your post on Instagram and the world will keep turning. Someone will abuse their power out there in the world and the sun will come up tomorrow. You will lose a job to someone you think is unqualified. And yes, the world keeps turning. It’ll probably continue to turn long after we humans are gone. So yes, in that way I maintain, we are inconsequential and yeah, we busy ourselves all day every day with work, with training, with networking, with socializing, with climbing that ladder with building our lives with Peloton rides, with providing for our family and our communities. We live in a society where busy is synonymous with good.  

We just all keep marching side note. My niece was singing. The ants go marching one by one hurrah hurrah as we were snowshoeing at 9,000 feet above sea level a couple of weeks ago. And I was surprisingly okay with that. I really liked her choice of song. Um, I just thought that was very poetic in that moment. Especially as I was meditating on this idea that we are all ants and we all go marching down to the ground to get out of the rain or in our case, snow anyways, this aunt’s thought seemed so real. And wouldn’t, you know, it, when I thought that thought I felt small, I felt in consequential powerless, even it wasn’t until my flight back to LA, that I realized the effect that that thought was having on my behavior. That thought, however, true, it seemed was not particularly useful.  

Sis, I’m not blaming you by the way. I’m just learning from you. So this not inspiring, not motivating thought that we are just ants. If anything served as a great excuse to not really do much, if anything served as a great excuse to feel small, inconsequential and powerless, but we’re talking 2022 here. I know many of you like myself are feeling like making up for lost time. We are tired, tired of mandates, tired of lockdowns, tired of politics, tired of the, the systemic issues in our society, tired of death, tired of drama. And we are ready for new ready for a new year, a fresh start. And Ooh, my friends, this this right here, this is where we differ from ants. Ants don’t celebrate new years. They don’t post to their antsagram. See what I did there. They don’t post about their new year.  

New me ants do a lot, but they do not feel emotions. They literally do not have a central nervous system, but they do survive. And they do all of their doing by instinct. We humans do because of how we think we’ll feel. Once we do all the right things, we do things because of how we think we’ll feel. If we don’t do them, or sometimes we don’t do things because of how we think we’ll feel it truly wasn’t until my flight home, until I literally reached 30,000 feet and was able to zoom out and realize number one, we aren’t ants. And number two aunts are actually pretty impressive. So even if we were aunts, which we aren’t, that wouldn’t be so bad, allow me to elaborate a little bit. Ants are incredible. I’m just gonna, I’m just gonna spitball some ant facts that you right now, aunts can carry more than 20 to 50 times their body weight.  

And they don’t even have a lungs or blood. They’re one of the world’s strongest creatures in relation to their size. And one ant species even holds the record for fastest movement in the animal kingdom. Um, it can snap its jaw closed at 140 miles per hour. Take that Elon Musk. Um, oh, and there’s another ant species that is the most venomous insect in all of the world. Friends. What the heck? We’re learning so much about ans today. And we’re only halfway through ants are also remarkable in that they have ways of teaching what they have learned to other aunts. They live in hierarchical show  they live in hierarchical social structures and they work together as a group. They’re even assigned jobs like worker, aunt, other aunt queen, aunt, you know, the different types of ants. Um, what else, what else am I not telling you about ants?  

Oh, this I thought was special. Their jobs can change throughout their lifetime. So nobody’s saying that like a worker ant can’t become the queen. And maybe I think don’t quote me on that. Anyways. A final fun fact about aunts. They can farm. They actually protect other creatures and food from predators. In some cases, they even housed them in exchange for food. They’re like excellent negotiators. This thought this analogy that we are ants, because it’s actually a metaphor. This metaphor that we, our ants went from being an excuse. That made me feel small to being a thought that empowered me to keep marching along with my community. And I think that like ants, we can do incredible things. Especially when we work together, we can move things that exceed our body weight. Uh, we can build intricate pathways and structures that protect us. We can negotiate.  

We can destroy things that are bigger than we are another fun fact. According to the USDA fire ants cause an estimated 6 billion plus dollars of damage in the United States per year. Y’all that’s serious. And it is a testament that when we work together, we are smarter, stronger, more powerful and more dangerous than we are when we are alone. But, but, but, and, and, and aunt, aunt, aunt, we humans can do incredible things by ourselves as well. Even one human being, because we have these gigantic human brains and we have self-awareness. We have the ability to think and think about our thinking, oh, and before I go any further, I must point out in case any ant specialists are listening today, by the way, reach out to me, it would love to talk to you. Aunts do have brains, but they are very small relative to their size now because we have these brilliant brains, these human minds, we can also feel, we can feel emotions. We can experience joy, pleasure pain. We have a sense of play and adventure and love we can create, but what’s even better than that. We can create for no reason at all.  

Past humans, previous human types worked really, really hard to figure out the whole survival part. And now we are at the thrival part. I made that word up. Um, we can thrive now. Like we’re not going to be eaten by a saber tooth tiger. We have technology to help us through most of our day, most of the time. So let’s talk about thriving Shelly in episode one, when I talk about doing daily and in episode 53, when I talk about redoing daily, I discuss new year’s resolutions and goal cultivation. In general, I underline something very important. The reason why most resolutions be they new years or otherwise fizzle out the reason why most goals go unaccomplished. And that is because most people try to change their behavior without changing the way that they think this is again, where we differ from ants, my friends, we can think we can feel the emotions.  

And that awareness is the first step of changing the way you behave. So whether you are doing daily or not, if you’re looking for a thought that will help you change your own life and therefore in the butterfly effect type of way, change the world. You can start here. I may be small, but I am strong. I may be smart, but all of us are smarter than one of us. I can March alone or in line. I am not an ant, but even if I was that wouldn’t be so bad because ants are incredible. See, we aren’t actually ants. We are humans. We invented the wheel, electricity, the internet, hi, we can dance. We can learn choreography and we can freestyle answer Mads strong, and they have stamina, but they can’t do that. I’m guessing, forgive the terrible cliche, but humans can March to the beat of our own drum. We can feel, we can feel remorse, rage, love, and we can watch ourselves thinking we can manage our minds. Ants can’t do that. I don’t think ants can do that. I don’t actually know. I think the movie ants would suggest otherwise, but I haven’t seen that movie. And I’m pretty sure it’s fictional.  

We humans can take on personal projects for no other reason than our very own pleasure and progress. That makes a difference in the world. We can take on projects and tell the world and change the world. We can take on personal projects that no one has to know about. We can do so much when we manage our minds, we can do so, so, so much when we work together and that’s the work. 

My friends I’m wishing you all have the strength and stamina, all of the courage and creativity and all of the love in this ant filled world in 2022 so much. So in fact that I’m offering a free career coaching call on January 13th at 11:00 AM. Pacific time, you don’t even have to participate. You don’t have to speak. You can just show up in spy on what a coaching call is, if you want. Uh, but you do to register, to receive the link. So do not sleep on it. Visit thedanawilson.com/work with me to register. And I’ll see you there. That is what I have for you today. My friends, we are not ants, but if we were that wouldn’t be so bad because ants are incredible. And so are you get out there and keep it funky. Y’all I’ll talk to you soon.  

This podcast was produced by me with the help of many; Music by Max Winnie, logo and brand design by Bree Reetz, and a big thanks to Riley Higgins, our executive assistant and editor, and also massive thanks to you. The mover, who is no stranger to taking action, I will not stand in the way of you taking action. I will not cannot stop you from downloading episodes or leaving a review and a rating. I cannot keep you from visiting thedanawilson.com to join our mailing list. I will not ban you from my online store for spending your hard earned money on the cool merch and awesome programs that await you there. And of course, if you want to talk with me, work with me and make moves with the rest of the words that move me community, I will 100% not stop you. Visit thedanawilson.com to become a member and get a peek at everything else I do that is not a weekly podcast. Keep it funky, everyone. 

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