I spent the better part of my December vacation under the coastal sun of Mombasa taking in the cold breeze from the ocean. One afternoon I was seated at the beach with a friend chatting when I noticed a string of ants making their way past where we were seated. Curious, I followed the little procession and noticed that it went beneath a rock, around stationary beach bench and finally ended at the root of the tree and probably continued into the inner bark. The ants tried as much as possible to stay out of the humans’ way to avoid being crushed underfoot. My friend laughed at the curious wonder of nature exclaiming how the tiny, pesky insects have a knack of existing and surviving anywhere in the face of the earth. I heartily agreed with her, but soon changed the subject to more interesting things.
Later in the evening, as I reflected on the goings of the day in my hotel room, the little ants came to mind again. With the rigorous activities that take place in the beach, their lives must be in danger every time they venture out to gather food. Even when their procession is cut short by a barefoot, a camel foot or even a bike, the survivors still struggle to get the food home to their queen. The ant colony’s survival depends on constant supply of food and the worker ants have to learn how to thrive in order to ensure the survival of their colony.
We all need to learn different ways of achieving our success in whatever work environment we find ourselves. The ants in the beach and those in Bara all have to survive regardless of the environment they find themselves in.
My point here is… the ants have mastered the art of thriving. So should we all. Here are great pointers on thriving.
- Identify a ‘Colony’
What is it that you work so hard for? What makes all your hustle worth it? It could be your family, you kids, your career etc. Your colony is what gives you purpose and makes you push forward despite the challenges that you face daily. At the back of your mind, you know you have to do it. Having a ‘Colony’ makes the journey to thriving much easier and faster and protects you when strong waves of life try to wash you away.
- Blend In
Another route to thriving is through blending in to the color hues and objects of the surrounding environment so that you can begin experiencing a sense of belonging. Blending in could mean learning the language and symbols used in the environment or understanding the hidden meaning behind non-verbal communication. Try to get the difference between humor and insult as quickly as you can in order to avoid embarrassment.
- Navigate the Politics
Every environment, from corporate to home, school to college has its own set of politics and politicians! Many people make the mistake of thinking they can ignore office politics until it disappears. According to Havard Business Review’s “Guide to Office Politics” it is a matter of survival for the fittest if you want to thrive. Even purists need to appreciate the existence of office politics and the degree of turbulence such an environment might present. In order to thrive one must understand key stakeholders, formal and informal lines of authority and how the internal grapevine of information transfer works.