Pain, Ants, and Personal Growth

Atom Ant is a cartoon figure and superhero created by Hanna-Barbera back in 1965. Yes, I do remember watching it.  If you have never heard of Atom Ant or want a 44 second flashback here is the intro video clip for Atom Ant.

What can Atom Ant teach us?

No doubt children ran around the neighborhood inspired by Atom Ant; okay, perhaps just the boys did.

For more background, The Cartoon Scrapbook will help fill you in on the story. (Remember, this was in 1965…before Jack Bauer of “24” fame.)

Atom Ant possessed super strength and the ability to fly and was no ordinary insect. When law enforcement agencies faced a problem they couldn’t handle themselves, they turned to Atom Ant for help.

Atom Ant’s secret headquarters…was located in a private ant hill. Deep in his underground laboratory, Atom Ant was normally lifting weights or reading Atom Ant comics between missions.

He picked up distress signals with his antennae, and if need be communicated by telephone or video screen with the law enforcement agency in need of his help.

With a cry of “Up and at ’em, Atom Ant!” and much gusto, he then zoomed off to save the day. No problem was too big for Atom Ant, and he overcame every challenge he faced with relative ease.

Sparing no expense, I’ve transcribed the powerful script used to draw us to our black and white Zenith televsion…

Up and at ‘em, it’s Atom Ant!

His strength, his might, his speed, his fight;

he’s Atom Ant, that tiny ant and his atomic power

has what it takes and always makes the vilest villain coward.

He’s rough, he’s tough, and bad guys yell “Enough!”

when he is “Up and at ‘em, Atom Ant”.

Really, an ant as our mentor?

There is an ancient proverb that suggests we observe nature.

Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet, it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.

What about its ways will make us wise? What can this mentor teach us about success?

Wisdom is a valuable asset and our reward.  Wisdom allows us to make sensible decisions and use good judgment tapping into our personal knowledge and experience.

Here’s my working definition, wisdom is the ability to look at life from a different perspective, usually a higher view.

The promise is such wisdom if we consider the ant’s ways.

Did you notice who this ancient proverb is addressed to?

“Who you calling a sluggard?” (Spoken with a ”street attitude”…)

Look, I’m not a lazy person, I’m a hard worker! Who you calling a sluggard?! Right?

Stay with me.

According to the Online Etymology Dictionary the word sluggard “…comes from from M.E. sluggi ‘sluggish, indolent’ probably from a Scandinavian word.”

As we dig a little deeper…Webster defines indolent: “averse to activity, effort, or movement; habitually lazy causing little or no pain”.  Hmmm, causing little or no pain; interesting.

Last week, in “Pain, Tolerance, and Personal Growth” I wrote:

Opposition to change (personal growth) stands steady until our pain pushes us to break through the wall of resistance.

If your pain tolerance is high it will take more pain to jolt you into action. In other words, a high pain tolerance hinders our ability and willingness to learn and grow as people.  

No pain, no change. No change, no gain.

If we are tempted to choose a path that avoids activity or effort because it may cause pain it’s time to go watch the ant and get a new point of view.

Have you watched an ant lately?

The ant is highly focused. It carries ONE THING at a time…little by little until the job is done!

The ant is prudent.  It “stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.”

The ant is self-disciplined, “it has no commander, no overseer or ruler.”

This mentor is focused, prudent, and self-disciplined and enjoys amazing success!

What ONE Thing?

Sometimes we need help getting unstuck.  The change or challenge appears so large we end up doing nothing. Or we think we have to do something big and our brain resists…we do nothing.

At the end of a coaching session I often ask my client: “What is one thing you can do that is so doable it’s laughable, but it will move you toward your goal?”

What’s ONE thing you can do today to get UNstuck?

Go to the ant and consider its way; receive the gift of wisdom.  Then make sensible decisions, use good judgment, and take action…before you know it something significant happens. ONE step, ONE small action, ONE thing so doable its laughable…but its ACTION.

Up and at ‘em, Atom Ant!

What if you forward this to a friend?  What if you post a comment?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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3 Responses to “Pain, Ants, and Personal Growth”

  1. Thanks Marty for your comment; fear can be a major block to action, no doubt.
    Beyond the ant being highly focused, prudent, and self-disciplined it keeps
    doing what it knows to do next…what freedom.
    Steve

  2. Action cures Fear, FEEL THE FEAR AND DO IT ANYWAY.

    The difference between the ant and us is that the ant does not think it just does- that is why we have to develop habits that will propel us beyond our reasoning.
    AHA— Attitude = Habits= Action

    95% of all failure is just lack of daily disiplined habits
    Health, Wealth, Family, Social…our life’s journey

    great story-great blog
    cheers Marty Morris

  3. [...] Pain, Ants, and Personal Growth « Next Level Executive Coaching. [...]

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 14, 2010 at 8:57 am and is filed under Motivation, Performance Improvement, Personal Development, Personal Growth, Personal Responsibility, Personal Success, Results, Transformation. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.