It may sound strange to suggest that humans can learn about life from honeybees. Obviously, these small insects are not as developed as we are. They lack the ability to speak, read and write. Our skyscrapers are much more complicated than their hives, and we have imagination, consciousness, personalities, souls and moral judgment. But there are actually some major life lessons that can be learned from honeybees.
Here’s a list of the most intriguing ones I found:
1. Use teamwork
Honeybees are nature’s ultimate team-players. They cooperate in everything they do. They also behave as if individuals matter, while at the same time keeping the common good of the hive as their priority. If one bee is suffering or falling behind, the others step up and do the work, making sure that collective productivity is never reduced.
In his book “Lessons from the Hive”, Mark L. Winston says: “honeybees thrive by relying on decentralized and collective decision-making”. They show flexibility and adaptability, robustness, and self-organization. It’s truly a one for all and all for one society.
2. Do good, for goodness’ sake
When honeybees pollinate flowers, they don’t do it with the reward in mind. Yet it is pollination itself that ensures continuity of the bees in the long run. Honeybees do not control the cycle of life but their acts of kindness always pay off.
3. Be efficient
Honeybees don’t multitask. Instead, they focus only on the top priority. They each have different jobs and they stick to them. This is how they are efficient, wasting no time on anything other than living their purpose and contributing where they are most capable.
4. Live within your means
Honeybees only expand the hive if more space is needed for a growing population or more food storage. They also understand that hard times happen, so they prepare for disasters and food shortage. This approach ensures that they don’t drain their energy on anything that is not necessary.
Honeybees survive by adapting to their surroundings. They are continuously evolving. If relocated from one region to another, they quickly scout the new environment and communicate their findings, then get to work in as little as an hour. They are not discouraged by new locations or temperatures…they are not discouraged by change.
Bees make honey during daylight so they take advantage of every moment of sunlight, even packing food in odd corners in order not to waste time. They also never stop learning. They visit the types of flowers that consistently offer them rewards, noting color and odor, and then ditch them if the reward becomes harder to obtain, switching to other flowers. In other words, they live in the present instead of holding on to ways of the past that have proven to be ineffective.
7. Live your work ethic
Bees have an innate sense of responsibility. They are driven by the desire to work, produce and sustain the colony. They pick up delays caused by others, doing what needs to be done, without micromanagement or delay.
8. Be a true leader
Colonies have queens, without the bureaucracy or the dictatorship. The queen knows her role and she performs her duties without interfering with the work of her subjects. And although the bees depend on their queen, she still behaves as a servant to her hive.
9. Communicate well
Bees are deeply engaged with each other. They keep each other informed about changes in their environment. They never break contact with the group and are constantly passing on information they receive.
10. Take time to rest
Contrary to the common belief that they work all the time, honeybees actually spend two-thirds of their time doing nothing. They work hard with unwavering dedication and discipline, but they also get plenty of rest in order to recharge.
If success is your goal, then team work, efficiency and communication are your best allies. You need to lead well, seize the opportunities of your day, nurture a positive work ethic and thrive in managing change. These honeybee traits and behaviors mirror those of highly effective people, so live within your means, be absolutely good and take time to rest and recharge.