Thursday, November 13, 2008

An Ant as Allegory for the Human Condition;
Ruminations Whilst on the Crapper

Before I begin, let's get the smirking and laughing out of the way. Yes, I was sitting on the toilet doing my business. Everyone poops, man. Don't you read? I trust the less said the better on that.

Anyway, as I was enjoying my afternoon constitutional, only slightly bemoaning the fact that there was no reading material to while the lonely minutes away, I caught sight of a single ant, scuttling his way across a piece of floor tile. He obviously was separated from the colony and was trying to intuit his way back - except that once he came across a grout line he stopped, refusing to cross it. So he would backtrack and wander, backtrack and wander, until he came across another (or the same) grout line, which he would not ever cross.

This ant will get exhausted and dehydrated and will ultimately die, because he set boundaries on himself that are completely imagined - not really boundaries at all. His failure was caused by his lack of ability to overcome these self-imposed boundaries.

Sound familiar?

Look, I'm the last guy to give new-agey advice. But this was too perfect an allegory to pass up. I firmly believe that 80% of failure is self-imposed.

People fail to do things for so many reasons, so few of them valid. They might be afraid of what others would think if they were to embark on the grand fulfillment of their secret dream; they might be afraid that grabbing the brass ring is unfair to those who cannot stretch out themselves and dare the attempt.

That ant confined his world to a 6x6 floor tile because of an unfounded fear of a dark line and a change of texture. Looking as I was down on him, omniscient, all-powerful, and quite regular, thank you, I realize the folly of his self-imposed prison, the exile of his own making, but he most assuredly did not. So it is, I suspect, with those of us humans who struggle with the same self-imposed boundaries.

Lift them. Understand that they exist in your head. There is nothing that a motivated human being will not dare or do to further the fulfillment of a dream. And conversely, if you unnecessarily constrict your life because of your own imagined fears or boundaries, is it truly a good decision?

To the daring go the greater rewards. Dare!