Hard-cøre Lessons from the Animal Kingdom
One of my life goals is to stand on top of the Mount Everest. Oh yeah. I want to conquer the Everest. Lord knows, I really do.
So I started learning how to climb mountains. Steep mountains, to be precise.
When I felt I was finally ready for the challenge and buoyed by this extra enthusiasm I have never ever felt in my life before, I set off.
But like all fairy tales, my dream what cut short.
I had a terrible accident.
Till today, I can’t really say what happened. All I could remember was that at some point in the climb, I suddenly felt so dizzy and then I lost my footing and then I fell.
It was such a very bad, nasty and terrible fall.
Such was the gravity of the fall that I broke my back and fractured three ribs, my left wrist, right shoulder, hips, and my right leg with several lacerations in different parts of my body.
It was really bad.
I thank God for the rescuers that saved my life on that day.
These Godsend lifesavers quickly rushed me to my hotel where I started receiving immediate and intensive treatment.
I think I overheard the doc saying something like I was looking at a minimum of six to ten months on the sidelines depending on how fast I healed.
It was while I was recuperating in the hotel that I had the opportunity to devote a lot of my lonely time into watching Nat Geo Wild.
I really learnt a lot of lessons from the animal kingdom.
And I want to share some of those lessons with you today.
As I watched different animals as they struggled in conducting their daily business of surviving in the wild, I couldn’t help but start drawing some remarkable similarities between what obtains out there in the wild in the animal kingdom with the highly developed world of ours as humans.
These similarities formed the major part of the lessons I learnt from the animal kingdom which I want to share with you now.
Are you ready for it?
Alright, let’s begin.
Many a time, you must have heard this phrase but have you really considered what it actually implies?
I was really amazed, though I must also confess, somewhat disgusted by the stupidity exhibited even by some big animals like zebras, giraffes, and even buffaloes for their seemingly inability to put up a good fight of resistance when they are being hunted by lions, cheetahs, hyenas etc.
Can’t they see that if they come together and resist the lions’ attack rather than bailing for it, they stand a better chance to protect themselves rather than running helter-skelter like they always do thereby exposing one of them as the sacrificial lamb each time the lions attack them?
Then I thought about us as normal people and our normal and natural reaction to terrorist attacks or troublesome situations?
Why do most people normally take off in times of danger as a first response to any external threat rather than coming together and staying put to tackle the threat at hand?
How come a group of terrorists, armed bandits and suchlike could terrorize quite a large number of people with the people always appearing so helpless and defenseless almost each and every time these terror lords strikes… even though the people being threatened far outnumber the terrorists?
Then the answer struck me!
It’s very simple: Safety first!
All animals are equal…
But some are more equal than the others!
That’s exactly how George Orwell put it in his book Animal Farm.
One lesson in the animal kingdom is that each animal instinctually knows how far reaching its own powers can be.
How do I mean?
Of course, what it means is that without being told, animals know the animals they can attack and conquer and animals that they better steer clear from to avoid telling blood chilling stories.
Which is why the antelopes run from the cheetahs, the cheetahs run from the lions, and lions run from hyenas when outnumbered… and so on…
Ergo, it shouldn’t be surprising to you that humans just seem to easily ‘sense’ who they can easily take on and who they should better just avoid in a physical combat to prevent leaving with a bloodied nose.
Taking it even further, can you imagine a country like the United States telling a country like North Korea or Iran to stop building nuclear weapons and may even go as far as enforcing and ensuring that North Korea and Iran comply with the directive?
Yes, of course.
Now, can you imagine a country like Somalia telling a country like the United States to stop building nuclear weapons and may even go as far as enforcing and ensuring that the United States comply with the directive?
Nah. Not likely... please, don't make me laugh.
Now, you see what I mean...?
Sex and Money makes the world go round
For a very long time in my life, I’ve often found myself wondering why is it that women tend to be so okay with receiving all sorts of favors from men up to the point they can even shamelessly demand or claim such favors as their natural right?
And come to think of it, how come, it seems the men—who are obviously at the receiving end of this ugly bargain—are not even complaining about the situation?
In fact, to some extent, these guys even seem to take so much pride in being providers for the females!
Well, I’ve think finally found my answer.
The answer is sex.
Sex, sex, sex and more sex!
In fact, if there’s one thing so many of the male animals in the wild can put in their CV as their primary or chief occupation, it is fighting over females!
Sex, of course!
And now coming down to our own highly organized human society, the fight over sex (usually by the male gender) has not yet ended or is ending anytime soon. Just that, quite unlike the animals in the wild, it goes on with lots and lots of subtlety and sophistication.
In certain situations, men are found to be discreetly competing against one another –albeit not directly like the animals do it in the wild—just to gain some female accolade which often translates to nothing but sex… more sex … and more sex!
You see some of these men—like some of the rappers we see on the TV in music videos—bragging about their wealth and using every little opportunity to flaunt or show off their capabilities of being a good and reliable provider just to grab some female attention at the end of the day.
And the women—whether they want to admit it or not—naturally gravitate towards those men who can offer them ‘the good things of life’ in exchange for what?
Basically for sex, my friend!
So it’s fact: it goes down over sex!
Actually, sex and money—to be precise!
Unconditional love from mothers is real
Have you ever wonder why mothers, okay most mothers, have this tendency to show unconditional love towards their kids?
Such mothers are ready to go extra mile just for their kids. They get so worried over every little thing that happens to their children. This over protection more often than not seems to continue for a very long time even when such children have become adults.
In fact, think of your own mother right now. Why is it that she seems to care so much for your own well being and she’s always ready to put your own interest above hers?
I have wondered about this for a very long time.
Growing up as a child, I could recall how the hens we kept in our poultry back then used to get unreasonably defensive and aggressive over her newly hatched chicks under her care and protection.
When I saw how over protective elephants, hippos, lions, crocs, even buffaloes and so on, get so overly aggressive once they sense their young ones are under any form of external attack, I knew then that it is not just humans but rather, it actually cuts across all other animals.
There was this very interesting scenario I came across. I could recall how a deer cunningly guided a lioness that was trying to hunt her defenseless baby away from the impending danger simply by making herself the target.
When the hungry lioness now came for her, she carefully placed herself in a position whereby the lioness couldn’t reach her.
Whenever the lioness seem like it has given up on hunting the mother deer and could be going for her baby instead, she comes out from her hiding place just to distract it and draw its whole attention to her once more.
This show of guile was a beauty to watch and the waiting game, sort of, continued until the lioness lost either patience or interest in them totally and decided to go for another prey entirely.
Then the mother deer came out to rejoin with her baby once more.
I was really touched.
Which brings me back to the question of why is it that mothers, most especially, have this tendency to show unconditional love to their young ones and even going as far as risking their own life just to protect their young ones, so to speak?
Then the answer hit me.
Believe it or not, the answer is so simple that it is lying right there before your very eyes.
These mothers, they just can’t help it. They have no other choice than to do just that. That’s why.
Yes, size matters—a lot!
Size is a very important factor in the animal world… and the bigger the better!
Now, I don’t know what you are thinking when you heard those words so I guess, a little clarification might help.
Recall when I said that animals can easily ‘sense’ who they can overpower and who can overpower them?
When one of such sensing factor is size!
Hope you can now equally see why I also stated that the bigger, the better?!
The bigger you are; the less predators find you vulnerable and/or defenseless.
For example, the elephant is known to be one, if not the only land animal, which has no direct prey.
Because of its big size, simple.
You can ALWAYS intimidate other lesser beings with your large size.
This is an open secret.
And this is why I would no longer blame men who spend hours upon hours at the gym working tirelessly on making their muscles larger than life.
I will no longer call it a huge waste of time, believe me.
Big can also be attractive since it draws a lot of attention—easily!
And no one understands this better than those women who can spend their last cash on making certain strategic parts of their bodies much more bigger or larger or more prominent than Mother Nature has allowed, if you know what I mean.
For these women, the pains of going under the blade doesn’t really matter. For them, the end justifies the means…
I totally understand.
And oh… the same goes for all those men who take all sorts of drugs or diets or even engage in all sorts of exercises just to make that particular part of your body bigger, you should know where I’m headed right now, huh?
Of course, I know you do.
Well, believe me, I wholly understand what you guys really want and I can’t say I blame you guys in any way at all for all the efforts you are making regarding this—oftentimes, worrisome—size of a thing.
Yes, maybe I’m wrong because I’m not really in the position to clarify on whether size has anything to do with it or not, but if the truth must be told, I’d say that the truth of the matter is that the media may have succeeded in messing up the minds of so many guys out there into believing that that size matters a lot too... and again, the bigger, the better!
Territoriality is your right
So many animals in the wild fight to own or establish their territory.
Some of these animals go a long way in marking their territory and they get easily infuriated when some other animals intrude into their territory.
And for some of these animals, their territory goes beyond a specific a geographical location marked off by boundaries. For some of these animals, especially the males, their territory includes the females they have conquered and have subsequently and successfully marked ‘out of bounds’ to other males.
In one of the wild life activities I was watching, it was very funny for me watching a group of monkeys trying to invade another troop of monkeys with the hope of taking over their territory.
The war was very fierce. Menacing fangs were bared. The clan that was being invaded fought back with all they’ve got. I must say, it was not funny to them at all. Luckily for them, they won the battle for that day but I believe they know that the possibility of another attack is imminent.
And at a point, I said to myself, come to think of it now, is this not exactly the same thing humans do when a stronger country invades a weaker country for whatever reasons best known to them? I thought of the territorial wars that have occurred in different parts of the world. The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. The Russian annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. The Nazi Germany takeover of Western Europe. The unending Israeli-Palestine border conflict… and so on!
Today, whenever I turn on the telly to watch the news, I am no longer put off by the constant barrage of news like the Brexit or the Trump walls.
I now understand what it’s all about, that is to say, the driving force behind all the clamoring for a well-defined territory, so to speak
You see, the truth is that you can never really take away the animal in man!
Survival is the name of the game
I don’t know for you but I have, on several different occasions, asked myself this question: What is the purpose of life?
For so many conscious searchers, trying to provide the all-satisfying answer that question has been a very difficult journey. Such has been the difficulty in solving this puzzle that some searchers—whom I presume—just decided to give up by just providing the simplest answer that life has no purpose.
Over the years, I think I somehow bought into that simplistic answer even though I was never really convinced by that submission.
But not anymore, at least, for me in particular.
The answer I have been searching for just hit me.
Of course, life has a purpose.
The purpose of life is very simple.
The purpose of life is to survive!
And I got this answer while watching an interesting scenario involving a hot pursuit of a deer by a hungry cheetah.
The deer was able to outrun the cheetah using what I call the zigzag-twisting-running maneuver which according to the narrator makes it very difficult for the cheetah to maintain its own top speed which can majorly be achieved if the cheetah is running on a straight course.
The cheetah couldn’t cope so it just gave up.
And so, the deer escaped but it was what the narrator said that gave me the jolt concerning that question that has been boggling my mind time after time concerning the purpose of life!
The narrator said, “… And so the deer survives to live for one more day…”
Just think about it, virtually everything you—we—do in this life is in one way or the other tied to ensuring your survival. We eat food, so that we can survive. We take note of certain information, so that we can stay out of danger. People work so that they can earn money to survive. People save up money so as to guarantee their survival. People study diseases so that they will be able to overcome the harmful effects of such diseases by way of providing treatment or cures for such diseases.
People pass on helpful life skills to their children so that those children will be able to survive. The battle for survival is so serious that people can even go to war to ensure their survival.
Ridiculous, isn't it?
But it's true.
In fact, mankind has taken this subject of survival to a very high level to the extent that most people—whether they realize it or not—are not working together to ensure not only their own survival as individuals but the survival of human beings all over the world as a whole!
Yes, survival is the name of the game.
So there you have it.
Those were some of the deep lessons I learnt while recuperating. As you will agree with me, it wasn’t a waste of time for me at all in any way, right?
Oh wait a minute!
Did I just say recuperating?
Ha ha ha ha. Obviously, this has gone to far!
Alright. Now, here's the thing. Listen. The truth is that I was never involved in any accident!
Yeah right… I know… you might have already starting sending me some get-well-soon encouraging messages, but the truth is that it was just a fib!
It never happened.
The fib was strictly just for my own personal amusement.
Ha ha ha.
Hey! Stop looking at me that way, please. You should have known. At least, I left you some clues when I told you I was rushed back to my hotel immediately after the accident. I mean, c’mon, who does that? Unless, the hotel comes with its own ER. Now you tell me, how many hotels do you know that comes with an ER?
And again, if I can recall well, I also mentioned something about my dream being cut short. Well my dream was actually cut short—literally!
Sorry, I got you there.
But all the same, keep those your good wishes coming because one can never know and I may need them someday should I attempt to climb a mountain someday in the future—and I eventually fall!
But we don’t pray for that, do we?
So that will be that for now.
Until I come your way next time, remember, no matter what the situation is, Safety first.