Change is a hard
thing for humans, and evidently ants are no different. The first day of
“ant season” this year, brought thousands of ants streaming in one of my
upper story windows. They came into the house from the far corner of the
room, went along the corner of the wall and ceiling the full length of
the room, down the door jamb, across the floor of the breakfast nook,
and up the wall to the kitchen counter. From there, they seemed to
spread in two directions, although I never did figure out exactly what
they were after. (Maybe the countertops were just nice and cool!).
After a lot of
vacuuming, I finally figured out that the ants were coming in through a
gap in the seal of the window glass. A quick trip to the garage produced
a tube of caulking, and off I went – sealing the corner of the window.
Well, don’t you know, a little while later they were coming in the
opposite corner (yes, I know, I should have looked for a hole there,
too). So, out came the caulk again, and life was good until the next
Day two brought ants
from the same window, and following the same trail to the kitchen. You
see, the ants were a little deterred but found another entry point just
a little further over from the first (and now sealed) spot. Yes, they
were persistent and diligent; however, I knew where they were going
because they followed the exact same trail as the day before. So, out
came the vacuum and in short order, the ants were gone.
On the third day, the
ants found a different window from which to enter – this one closer to
the breakfast nook, and they used the same place of entry in the window
as on day one (predictable). Further, they followed the same path as the
previous two days, so I knew exactly how to take care of them. Day four
brought the ants in through yet another gap in the windows – this time a
small hole in the frame itself. Guess what? They followed the same path
to the kitchen again.
After these four
days, it certainly feels like I personally disposed of every ant in
southern California. (I know it’s not true, as there are still some in
my garden.) The lesson I learned from the experience is, that we
need to change. As painful as it might be, change is inevitable. But, we
do have a choice in how we approach change – we can resist or we can embrace
works. It drains us of our energy and motivation, and affects our morale
and that of those around us. Ultimately, change is going to “get us”, so
it’s up to us to decide (and control) how we are affected. The ants in
my house refused to change their path, but persisted in following each
other down the same path, day after day. The predictability allowed me
to know exactly where to look for them every day – even when I was still
half asleep. How does being predictable negatively affect us or our
companies? It is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same
thing over and over, and expecting a different result. Are you insane?
Embracing change, as
risky and uncertain as it is, allows us a sort of freedom. It affords us
the opportunity to learn and grow and in turn, new experiences give us
new insights which can serve as a catalyst for new ways of thinking.
Perhaps we will discover a new way to perform our work. Maybe a new
product idea will be discovered. The whole change process can be
energizing and even exhilarating. It is important to remember; however,
that changing the starting point and following the same trail is not
really change. Stretch yourself – follow a different path.
Be bold – embrace
change. Empower yourself to go in a new direction.
The Lesson of the 3-Tined Fork
Stuck in a Rut?