It's been a while since I've directed my attention to the kids stories but recently this title came to my mind when trying to figure out why do people these days are so hard to figure out.
What do you want to be when you grow up? Apparently, a simple question that I was able to quickly answer when I was a kid. The fact that every time I answered it I came up with a different answer it's completely irrelevant, but I was answering. Today's kids, not 100% but many of them, don't know what to say when asked this question, that if you can distract them from their phones for a second to pay attention to you. Although it may seem funny, or not important, my concern is that many of my friends, colleagues and employees don't have a clue when asked what do they want to be when they grow up.
Me? I would like to be a Dakar finisher among other things, and I had to pick the most childish one of my dreams. I do realize that if looked at from a realistic point of view this might sound just as relevant as the fact that I wanted to be a firefighter, policeman or all the other classic answers, when I was 4-5 years old.
I would also like to be a person who inspired others to become better. I would like to be a teacher of some sort. I would like to be somebody people smile when they think about. I want to be a model (not the sexy, calendar material kind of model but somebody that others want to be like).
Actually my mother keeps reminding me that when I was young (that is anything between 3 and 7 yo) I wanted to be as smart as Nicolae Iorga (Nicolae Iorga - Romanian pronunciation: [nikoˈla.e ˈjorɡa]; sometimes Neculai Iorga, Nicolas Jorga, Nicolai Jorga or Nicola Jorga, born Nicu N. Iorga; January 17, 1871 – November 27, 1940) was a Romanian historian, politician, literary critic, memoirist, poet and playwright).
How did I choose that? I have absolutely no clue but for sure it was a person that people around me admired.
You might still be wondering, if you didn't forget already, what's with the ant and the grasshopper I've mentioned in the title?
It refers to the old story of the grasshopper that plays his songs all summer while the ant is working to prepare for the harsh times to come in the winter.
When the winter comes, the ant sits in its house with everything prepared and enjoys the time of rest, while the grasshopper freezes outside, has nothing to eat and almost dies, to find itself to the mercy of the ant. The ant asks him what he did all summer long and why didn't the grasshopper store any food. "I was singing all summer", the grasshopper says. "Well, then it's time to dance" the ant replies.
If you think about it, when you read it in school, it all makes sense. We all tend to come to the same conclusion that we should all act like the ant. You might even find people who say that the ant should not give food to the grasshopper to teach him a lesson. We all agree that the ant is the one that "makes sense".
Look around! In today's world, a world that influences your kids, your friends, your colleagues and your employees the grasshopper is the model. Everywhere you look all you see is the fame and fortune of the grasshopper. How cool is the grasshopper and what a cool car he drives! Everybody wants to be like the grasshopper. We go to lectures and we buy books that tells us what we have to do to become grasshoppers. Those books and lectures are written and presented by other grasshoppers most of the time.
How can you set your life so that you do nothing most of the time, have everything that you want just by wishing it, or have somebody else do it for you as you keep following your dreams. And guess what? We have no dreams!!!
We judge the ant because it works hard. We judge the ant because it doesn't have time to be cool. The ant spends its time working.
Somebody must do the work! No matter what, somewhere, in this huge world, every time you are the grasshopper, somebody else is the ant. You might not see it or you might not want to see it but somebody else is doing your work. Miracles don't happen! Miracles are other people's work!
I am a great admirer of Simon Sinek's work and books and ideas. In all his books, he brings back the idea of humans as a species. That is what we are. We influence and affect each other. We might have forgotten that we are all a species but we are. In our conquest to become ”the best me” we forgot that we are often stepping on the opportunities and chances of ”us”.
What are the leaders? I am not asking who they are but what they are.
The leaders are those who get the best food, the best females, the best living conditions and the admiration of all of us. What should they give in return? They should be the first in battle, the strongest (that is why they get the best food after all), the ones that protect us. They are the ones that give their lives to protect us. They are the ones that we expect to sacrifice themselves for us.
Who are today's leaders? Singers, artists, politicians with no real accomplishments, rich kids etc. The cool ones are the leaders of today.
When the danger comes, what do they do? They push us on the battlefield then they run and hide. Of course they do. That is what we are being thought and they do get the best teachers. F**k the others, you are the important one! The best lesson you can learn, isn't it?
Well, if you think about it, it's not. What if you are or get on the other side of this sentence? The nature has its laws and those are unbeatable, because the nature has more time than any of us to straighten the balance. The only law of nature is "the big fish eats the small fish"! That's it!
Everything else are our inventions. We have tried for thousands of years to create a system that protects us from this one law. We didn't want to be eaten by the bigger fish, and in case you haven't noticed, we are small fish.
In a fair fight, most of the humans couldn't win against a squirrel.
What are we doing now? We isolate each other and we try to make the best for ourselves. We don't care that we are destroying all the ants in the process.
We're not guilty! This is how we are educated to behave. You are the most important person in your life! You are the one that matters. We are thought to admire the rich, the thieves and the ones that with the least amount of effort get everything. They trick, they manipulate, they use marketing smart strategies, they are never happy with what they have, they make more money than they can spend in 200 years, but no worries, there are others that invent stuff for them to spend it on. There are others that invent needs for them and for all of us. We NEED a lot of things. We need a new car, a new phone, a trip around the world, a house, a movie, a coffee cup, a new pair of shoes, a new motorcycle, the heck with it, we need 3 of each!
I am not counting myself out of this category. I'm not being a hypocrite. I am doing all this. I have 2 motorcycles, looking to buy a new one, I have a house, I have smartphones and tablets and laptops... I get it! But we don't need it. We need love and people close to us. But guess what, they are too busy getting the house and the phone and the cars.
I run a company, a team of 16 people. I read a lot, and most of the time I am thinking on how I can influence these people to understand that there is little value in all these belongings. There is always going to be a bigger fish. Don't fight that battle. Create experiences, think of others in everything you do, love others, be conscious of the effect and the influence you have in this world. Be mindful and understand that for every grasshopper there are ants. Become somebody that admires the ants and when you see an ant, it might have its hands dirty from all the work, but go and hug it. Because of that, you get to be a grasshopper. Become a model for the others. Start around you, start with one person. It's enough because we've got time. It took us so many years to get here, to break it, we just need to turn it around and start fixing it.
Be an ant!