Eric McNeal Online Blog

Blog articles written by Eric McNeal where I discuss everything and then some.

What Can An Ant Teach You About Overcoming Failures & Obstacles In Life?

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I recall when I was young growing up and my brothers and I had to take care of the yard. Okay, actually my brothers typically got stuck with most of the work. That was the benefit of being the youngest. Of course being the youngest was a detriment whenever I got into a fight with my brothers, but I digress. 

During the weekends we had to cut the grass, trim the hedges, pull the weeds and even rid the yard of ant mounds. I would take the liberty of destroying the ant mound. This could be very dangerous work if you are dealing with fire ants, so I wouldn't recommend my preadolescence anecdotes for destroying ant mounds. But back then, I was a pro. In fact I was good at destroying things. I use to break all my toys and my grandmother even nicknamed me Destructive McNeal. So destroying the ant mound was a small thing to a giant. Read More

I would put on some long socks and boots and then go and stomp and kick those ant mounds until they were perfectly flat. Sometimes, I would even run the lawn mower over them to flatten them. However, even after kicking those ant mounds to smithereens they reappeared in the same spot a few days later. 

The next time I would employ the water hose and even sometimes resort to a bucket of hot water until there was clearly no ant mound left. But, voila, the ant mound would magically reappear yet again. The ants would simply rebuild and not give up, and sometimes their ant mounds became larger after I destroyed them.  In fact, it seems that all of God's creatures have this same type of fortitude to keep going, with the exception of the most intelligent being on earth - the human being.

Human beings often want to throw in the towel so quickly. When faced with the smallest obstacles we are ready to just give up and feel sorry for ourselves. Instead, all other living things, even bacteria, will persist until the very end. I often wonder, at what age do we learn to give up when we hit an icy patch in life, and how can the smartest life-form on the planet become engulfed in self-pity. 

So today, over thirty-five years after my episodes with those ant mounds, if I'm beginning to feel down or disheartened about something I just think about how resilient those pesky ants are. They don't become discouraged, depressed or despondent when the worst happens. They just rebuild. And that's what I have learned to do. 

So, the next time someone tries to destroy your world, don't give up and feel defeated. Just take a page from the ant and rebuild it bigger and better. We can all learn so much from ants. They may have smaller brains, but they are full of heart.

In closing, I think it's only befitting to leave you with some of the lyrics from the classic song High Hopes, by the incomparable great singer Frank Sinatra. It's a favorite of mine. Hope you enjoy and I encourage you to listen to the entire song on YouTube. 

Next time you're found
With your chin on the ground
There a lot to be learned
So look around

Just what makes that little old ant
Think he'll move that rubber tree plant
Anyone knows an ant, can't
Move a rubber tree plant

But he's got high hopes
He's got high hopes
He's got high apple pie
In the sky hopes

So any time you're gettin' low
'Stead of lettin' go, just remember that ant
Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant
Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant
Oops, there goes another rubber tree plant




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Guest Wednesday, 21 February 2018