#50 Do You Feel Stuck? Here is What You Can Learn from Ants

If you are reading this, you might feel, to some extent, stuck. You might feel stuck in career, in school, in life situation. And you want to unstuck. I hope this blog will help you.

First of all, I would like to emphasize the importance of awareness, and the different level of awareness:

  • Level 1: Aware that you feel stuck
  • Level 2: Put your feeling into clear, simple facts
  • Level 3: Understand why you feel stuck

Here is an example:

Level 1: I feel stuck: My project was a priority last time I heard from my big boss; I was asked to expand the scope (which is not easy to do). As I was carving out the expansion plan, the next time I heard from my big boss, the project is no longer a priority – I don’t know why. I don’t know what to do. I feel stuck.

Level 2: I am faced with is a bigger technical challenge and a lower priority.

Level 3: I feel stuck because: I don’t know, exactly, how to carry out the expanded project; AND I don’t know whether it is worth it.

When you DON’T know how to do a thing but you DO know it will worth it, you can go do research, ask around, or hire people to do it. Chances are, you will get it done. (Example: Fix your toilet that is leaking water)

Photo of Gray Faucet

When you DON’T know if something is worth it but you DO know how to do it, you can just try it! (Example: Ask your childhood friend if he wants to come to your wedding).

Person Holding White Envelope

When you DON’T know how to do a thing, and DON’T know if it will worth it, then things become a little tricky. You can’t really try it, because you don’t know how. You are hesitate to invest your energy in figuring things out, because you don’t know whether all your effort is worth it. You get into a interlocking spiral.

The moment you know why you feel stuck is like the moment of getting a diagnose from your doctor – “Yup. It’s a thing. Here is why it happened. And here is what you could try.”

Dna, White Male, 3D Model, Isolated, 3D, Model

How to unstuck?

Have you seen ants moving big objects home? How do they coordinate?

Ameisentransport, Ant Theft, Ants, Wood Ant, Ant

According to a study by Nature Communications, it is neither the leadership by a leading ant, nor the wisdom of the crowd. Instead…

Informed ants.

When you are stuck, can you find new ants? Potentially, informed ants that have better idea of the direction of home. Invite them to give you fresh tugs.

That’s how ants move objects four times the size of their body. That might also be the way you overcome your next stuck moment.

In the example at the beginning, the “fresh tugs” come from an All-hands meeting by the CEO of my company – “What does he say is important to the company? Is my work aligned?”; also comes from a senior engineer from a neighbor team – “Has she faced with similar situation before? What did she do?”

Lastly, remember, without hardness, what do you break through?

If you have a major stuck, it means you have a major breakthrough awaits. Good luck!

Valley Of Roses, Cappadocia, Cave, Breakthrough, Tunnel

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