9 Lessons You Can Learn From Animals

Speedy cheetah

A gaze at a hen feeding her chicks gives me a sense of tranquility. The giant head and yellow eyes of a lion have natural appeal to children of all ages. Animals are by far the most favorite characters in children’s comic stories.

These are just a few examples of how animals can make a bad day good in the life of a human being. However, we often overlook the behaviors of animals that make them unique and appealing to us. Here is a list of 10 amazing lessons that we can derive from the animals around us.

  1. Be courageous and persistent like a lion

Lion attacking a giraffe

There is no animal in the jungle that can kill bigger faunas than a lion. The king of the jungle, as most children’s stories call it, can take on animals with body sizes that are more than twice as large as its own. It will pounce on the head and back of its prey with so much ferocity and determination. It can bring down giraffes, buffaloes, rhinos, and elephants; yet it is much smaller than them. A single kick of a giraffe can break the jaws of a lion. One sweep by the task of an elephant can send a lion to oblivion. And a buffalo’s horn can tear a lion’s skin apart. Notwithstanding, a lion still finds the courage to attack such big animals. Persistently and resiliently, the lion can wrestle them down with savagery and tenacity.

Children and adults can learn from these animals by taking on difficult and complex situations courageously. Do not be intimidated by a new challenge; do not be eliminated out of the race. Keep trying persistently, using all the power you have. When things are going tough in your life, remind yourself of a lion, a leopard, or a cheetah who must take on big animals in order to feed their cubs. Do not let any situation crush you to the point of seeking comfort in alcohol and drugs. Be strong like a lion.

  1. Be a good team player

Wild Dogs working as a team

Most animals work in teams to survive in the jungle. A classic example are hyenas. One colony of hyenas can scavenge on the food gathered by a lion. Together they can fight off a lion and claim the entire delicacy. Another good example is wild dogs who hunt in groups. When they see a gazelle, they hunt it down in a team. They know that they cannot outrun the gazelle. A few wild dogs run behind the prey, and others run in different directions, cornering it to a point of no escape. Without teamwork, they cannot eat; hence they cannot survive. Their survival depends on their unity.

In the same way, our survival as humans should be founded on unity. When we are divided, we lose. When we are fragmented, we fall apart. We either blossom together or wither separately. Like a troop of lions taking down an elephant, we can work together to bring a big project to completion. Haven’t you heard the old adage, “No man is an island?” Indeed, no man can stand alone, at least not in times of trouble. Together we stand, divided we fall.

  1. Respect and obedience… not a boggy boogie!

elephants migrating

Not even the wisest professor can dispute the fact that wisdom is passed down from older to younger generations. We cannot dance boggy boogie in front of the elders and expect to reap the fruits of their wisdom. Those who lived before us have gathered more information than us. They have the experience to guide us and give us direction. They have the authority and knowledge to advise us on what to do, what not to do, where to go, when to go where we are supposed to go, and how to do what we are mandated to do.

Elephants know this old mantra. They have elders who lead the way in all their migration journeys. In the African savannas, elephants often migrate from their habitation when there is no rain to another part where there is rain. On the way, they often encounter a lot of obstacles, including lions who hunt them for food. To keep their young ones safe, they put them in the middle of the herd, and the elders lead the way to offer guidance and protection. If one young elephant chooses to ignore the rules and goes ahead of everyone, he becomes a vulnerable target to all carnivorous animals in the forest.

Stay close to your elders and listen to their counsel quite keenly. Get a grip of their unfathomable nuggets of wisdom as much as you can.

  1. Take good care of your children

buffalo taking care of its young one

It is amazing how buffaloes and cows take care of their calves. It is equally perturbing to see how mothers and fathers nowadays abandon their children as though they are some kind of a burden.

When I was growing up in the African Savanna, I heard a true story about a buffalo who saw a cow that had just given birth. The buffalo pulled down tree branches, thorns, and logs and gathered them around mother cow and her calf. I am sure these animals have their language. They must have understood each other, and the cow must have thanked the buffalo for creating a fence for her. Both understand the dangers of having a susceptible calf alone in the bushes.

It is only parents who understand the struggles of raising a baby. Take that responsibility seriously, and accept the challenges that come with it. I was raised by parents who had cows their entire life, and I never heard of a single cow abandoning their calf. So what is all these nerve-wracking stories of parents abandoning their children? Why do we have single parents? If you don’t want to live like a human being, at least try to live like a buffalo.

  1. Trust your instincts

Stalking Cat

Some animals like the leopard rely significantly on their instincts when they hunt. They trust their senses and react according to changes in their environment. A cat stalks its prey and creeps slowly before springing in a lightning speed, giving its prey little chance to escape. That is pure hunting instincts.

Like animals who have mastered the art and science of sensing, human beings should also listen to their guts. Pay close attention to key signals in your environment. Look for clues in events and circumstances surrounding you. Rather than trying to create a 5-page poetic repertoire for your girlfriend’s birthday, try to listen to your instincts. Unleash the deep-seated survival skills in you so that you can deal with sudden changes in your life without having to crack difficult programming codes.

  1. Be Quick and Tactical

Speedy cheetah

Speaking of the skillful hunter called cat. There is one cat that is well known for its lightning speed. The cheetah. While a lion relies on its strength to catch its prey, a cheetah runs itself to exhaustion before catching its prey. Rather than stalking its prey like a domestic cat, the cheetah ambushes its prey and uses its stretchy muscles to outrun its target. However, it uses tactics to calculate where the prey is heading, and runs straight at it.

Teachers should train their learners to be quick in whatever they do. When doing an exam, a student must have a quick response mechanism, coupled with a tactical approach. That is the case to life in totality. Sometimes we have no time to look back and think. It makes sense to act promptly in certain situations.

  1. Persevere, Never Give Up!

Lion versus Giraffe

If you have watched lions killing a giraffe or an elephant, then you know what I mean. It is often an exercise that takes up to six hours. Hunting starts when one lion sees the giraffe. She then alerts the others, and they start stalking their prey. They then surround the animal and look for a perfect spot to attack. The animal of prey never gives up that easily. It fights back, and before the leading male lion bites the giraffe on the neck, it will be kicked several times. Even after they catch their prey, they will hang on there for hours before it falls down.

Human beings should exercise the same resilience and fighting spirit. Do not give up. Do something like you mean it. Hunt down your job by knocking all doors and dropping your CVs persistently. Employers will notice your resilience if you keep trying. Do not ever give up in your life. If an animal perseveres, who are you to give up?

  1. Don’t Give a Damn What Others Say or Think about You

fishes jumping out of water

Animals usually do crazy things without worrying what other animals will say. These fishes jump against the water while migrating upstream. They try several times before managing to land on top of the falls. No matter how many times they fail, they keep trying without caring what others will think about them. There are noises all around them. Tourists say, “Why don’t they just give up?” The waters shout, “Just follow us downstream.” They ‘ignore’ all noises and push themselves harder until they reach upstream.

Similarly, let no one discourage you. The noise of the water and bystanders cannot stop fishes from trying. You are no small fish. You are a big human being with brains. Do not be dismayed by the innuendos and chinwags of others.

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Fredrick Chepkonga

Mr. Fredrick Chepkonga is an educator and writer in Kenya with great experience in writing and research on education, economics, and finance topics. He has passion in mentoring young people to develop responsible citizens and future leaders.

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