Endurance? Ask the Ants! (8)

Imagine you wake up one morning to hear you have been named the unified world heavyweight champion in boxing instead of Anthony Joshua! Next to you are the championship belts you admired on TV the night before. In your living room are paparazzi and people wining and dining in your honour. As you begin to enjoy your new “magical” celebrity status, a TV correspondent asks you about your preparation to defend your title; then you stop dead! “Defend what?” You ask yourself. “I thought when you win you simply enjoy the glory! How can I defend a title I can’t remember winning?” Then you recall! Last night, while watching Anthony Joshua on TV bask in the euphoria of victory, you wished you were him. Now, you are not prepared to face a mean opponent who will send you off the ring in a body bag.  

We live in a world where success is highly celebrated, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, most people tend to be attracted to the rewards of success such as affluence, mansions, Champagne, exotic cars, yacht parties, etc. Few people ask where the celebrity was years ago while still unknown. Very little thought is given to the hard training, sacrifices, sleepless nights and endurance it took to step into the limelight.

People desire others’ successes yet they can’t pay the price. If success is ever transferable, it will not be sustainable because you can’t keep what you never earned. There is something about the process of achieving success, no matter how grueling, that helps to keep it. The secret of staying on top is usually acquired on the way up. Ants are smart enough to know that success is at a cost:

  1. The ability to hold on: how much pressure can you endure before you give up? Some scientists devised an ingenious experiment to test how good weaver ants are at gripping sleek surfaces. They placed some ants in a centrifuge, a miniature version of what a trainee astronaut endures. It was discovered that at 100 times the force of gravity, which was enough to crush a human astronaut, the ants could still grip the glass surface.
  2. High level engagement: some people want maximum benefit for minimum effort. In a lab test, some scientists measured the metabolic rate of grass-cutter ants while they cut and discovered that the ants’ rate was 3 times higher than an exercising athlete. There is no one who achieves extraordinary results without extraordinary efforts.