While humans are the only ones in the animal kingdom clocking in for a 9 to 5, staying alive and well fed is the main job for everyone in the animal kingdom year-round. By watching our wild counterparts go about the business of living, we can learn a few timeless lessons for keeping our own work life humming.
Use the Right Tools
Otters, arguably the cutest of the sea mammals, are incredibly clever. To keep their daily diet of clams, oysters, and other shellfish going, they use rocks and hard stones to break open the shells of their prey. Needless to say, trying to crack a clam on their soft little bodies just wouldn't work. They'd starve if they didn't get the right tools for the job as fast as possible.
We can stand to take a lesson from the otter's clever tool-finding. When a process or project just isn't working right, rather than remain stuck to our methods, sure that they'll work if we push hard enough, we should make sure we're using the right tools for the job. Switching out an old method for a new one may be the breakthrough we're waiting for.
Going from on top of the water to underneath it, the octopus is an eight-legged wonder with strong arms and a huge brain that gets it out of (and into) a lot of trouble. While they seem to be made out of rubber bands and mischief, they do have a hard beak (similar to a parrot's) that lets them break into the shells of crabs and seafood they find delicious. When an octopus wants in or out of a tight space, they can go almost anywhere that their beak will fit through.
Like the octopus, we should always remain flexible at work, especially when it seems like we're stuck in a tight spot. Knowing what is essential to us or to our process will allow us to strip away what we don't need and flex around the essentials, working with what we have rather than what we wish we had.
From the depths of the ocean to the treetops, crows are our last wilderness idols for today's blog. In addition to their sleek design and handsome coloring, crows are also incredibly smart! They can teach other crows new skills and are expert puzzle solvers for the right reward (a very relatable feeling). In one scientific study, crows figured out they could use a nearby twig to retrieve a treat in a trap that was too small for their feet or beak to fit into. That's pretty creative for a bird!
Like the crow, we should always strive to remain creative at work. Looking at the tools we have at are disposal, even those things that may not immediately look like tools, can ultimately bring results far greater than they might have been otherwise. Leverage networks, new computer programs, or even freeware the next time an unexpected headache pops up at work.
"Necessity is the mother of invention" as the saying goes - and nowhere is that clearer than when observing our neighbors in the animal kingdom. Their day-to-day struggle to live well carries direct parallels to our own need to make work easier and more enjoyable for ourselves.
Now, if only we could sub in an otter on our next sick day...Subscribe to the Dunham Blog