The Clever Ant

Have you ever noticed the movement of an ant? Have you ever wondered why they are always on the move? And have you wondered why they build ant hills? Few of us would take the slightest notice of an ant, but there is a verse that King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 30:25 which states “Go to the ant thou sluggard and be wise”. He was saying that as humans we have much to learn from the ant because they wisely gather food and store it for the winter. This is truly the art of preparation. Preparing for the future means taking stock, thinking ahead and making plans for an eventuality. If we wait to plan when we are in crisis it will be too late. At this time we will not have the luxury of sitting back and thinking through what the next plan of action should be, we will be caught on the hop.

Some years ago when I completed my MPhil I chose to write my dissertation on the experiences of young people who were looked after by the state. They were at the point of leaving the public care system. Sadly, I found that they were not prepared for anything let along for life after care. This became a huge problem for them because they lacked the skills and the ability to make the transition from being looked after to looking after themselves. I published a book about their experiences. It was titled ‘Making it Alone’, because that was the predicament they found themselves in. As one of the participants said ” I was prepared for nothing”.

I have applied the analogy of the ant with coaching because I sense that there is much wisdom in preparation because it helps my brain to zero in on what is important and what will help my coachees to make the most of the time and resources they have in their hands. I understand that the ant has a purpose in his movement and that the ant hill is germane to his survival. We can all learn from the ant. Even though its meanderings may seem insignificant, the lesson we can take away from its actions are powerful.