We learn from the honeybees’ single minded focus in achieving a goal. They work in a community that shares a common objective. The support system is such that one bee dances in synchrony with each of the other bees in the swarm. Each bee propels the wind beneath the wings of another.
From the dance of the bees we can appreciate how easy it is to become more of ourselves if we are exposed to individuals who share the common make-up and vision. We imbibe into our system whatever energy we expose ourselves to. This is how realization of dreams happen drastically and surely.
In the process, it is wise to be conscious of our tendency to associate with individuals, concepts, ventures that sidetrack us. As the honeybees dance, they buzz their way to the flowers. Every possible move is energized, directed, and decisive. Every bee is a significant part of the swarm. Spiritual Politics in its discussion of cosmic causes of world events, make mention that “…all of life can be seen as expressions of different cosmic energy frequencies, called “ray” energies. These rays represent different aspects or frequencies that in their totality make up all the Divine aspects of God – the one basic energy of the universe. These rays also influence and condition individual personalities and soul energies. Every type of human activity and institution expresses various ray qualities. Long cycles of activity and whole civilizations are governed by incoming and outgoing rays which condition life.” Spiritual Politics Ch9, pp 269-270.
Instilling teamwork in the company requires the identification of a common vision, a mission statement that infuses meaning into the daily action of the individuals in the team. While they are their own person, living creatively in the various facets of their existence as part of the team, a common vision propels them. A definitive purpose empowers them. A unifying meaning enriches their work life.
This is possibly the most ideal metaphor for how to instill inspiration and productivity in the team. Hire only those whose core values and basic definitions resonate with the team’s. If I am running a language school, I will not hire a poor communicator no matter how amiable this person may be. And if my school is involved in outreach programs that teach not only communication but values, morality, and well-being as well, I will not even spare interview time to someone with questionable social standing and alternative moral definitions.
A team that accomplishes tasks in synchronized rhythm does not require a manager or even an owner breathing down its neck. Like the queen bee who remains in the colony to mate and co-create while the worker bees do what they have to do, the leader of the organization and/or team should be able to focus on tasks that benefit the whole team and any of the team members without making anyone of the members feel biased, de-motivated, over-nurtured, castrated. The leader is the most productive member because he is the unifying force. He is the amplifier that keeps the music reverberating. His presence inspires the team to consistently stretch their potentials. His actions inspire every member to exceed expectations. His words soothe daily stress and minor frustrations. The leader, as the queen bee, gives life to colony of bees that knows its roles and revels in performing individual and communal duties. On an individual level, there are probably 101 lessons we can learn from honeybees. One is the intrinsic motivation drawn from knowing oneself. (Mihalyi Czikzentmihalyi, FLOW) A person who has clearly identified his life mission and vocation is self-motivated to explore the opportunities available for him. He does not give up easily because to his mind the end justifies the means. Pains and disappointments are processed into advantages. The power of self-knowledge gives him the clarity of thinking to identify a daily goal and pursue his dreams.
Inspiration is drawn from the self. One who appreciates himself and what he is capable of becoming reflects such energizing vibration to his world. The world in turn reflects that positive vibe back to him. And when his core resonates with whatever and whoever is around him, work becomes joy, life becomes bliss. A honeybee’s singleminded focus allows him to complement the swarm as they buzz towards the flowers. When a person applies to his work the singleminded, directed, decisive approach of the honeybee, he becomes his own person: creative, free, productive, able to live meaningfully.
Ultimately, know thyself. The problem in some instances is that we tend to compromise our values and core beliefs in order to satisfy the requirements of a group or company whose direction flows counter to our own. Once we lose our sense of self – our self-defined priorities — we lose everything. And even the right situations will not work despite our best intentions.
CREATIVITY IN THE CALLING
One’s calling, when embraced, leads to the most amazing accomplishments. Geniuses of different arenas have one thing in common. The moment they discovered their strength, they gave all their energy and devotion to stretching the limits. The moment limits are stretched, creativity flows. When creativity flows, miracle happens. And then the whole world stands in awe.
An economics professor once advised us, “build upon your strengths.” True, as soon as they were capable of performing the tasks they were meant to do, the honeybees were relentless. An artist, writer, actor, engineer, doctor, or any professional for that matter should recognize his strengths, and only when he does can he become an expert in his field. After one goes through the process of self-evaluation, he follows his heart; and in his choice of vocation, he creates another field where he becomes a pioneer in his own right. This moment, once reached, is evident in the way spectators stand in awe as creator / actor dances to the tune of his work. Indeed, we are all co-creators of life – even another dimension of life.
Honeybees, do not seem to waste time on tasks that do not concern their primary calling. They do not get sidetracked. And yet who is to say that their life is boring? Work is play to he who has found his niche and knows in his mind and heart that he is contributing and consistently co-creating to the world around him. “Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would otherwise never have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.” W.N. Murray
SELFLESSNESS IN CREATIVITY
All of us are artists. Unique gifts have been bestowed upon us. And every time our heart and mind work together, we become more human, more integrated, more creative, more significant contributors of meaning to the world. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book Creativity wrote: “…trends certainly don’t suggest that creative individuals are inevitably interested and involved in the world around them and that they are willing to pay heavy price for their beliefs. But these accounts do disprove the often voiced opposite conclusion, that exceptional artists and scientists are too selfish, too wrapped up in their work, to care much for what is happening in the rest of the world. If anything, it seems that the curiosity and commitment that drive these people to break new ground in their respective fields also direct them to confront the social and political problems that the rest of us are all too content to leave alone.” Creativity p. 203, M. Csikszentmihalyi
As one stretches his potentials, he expands his horizons. As he discovers his strengths, he fortifies his resolve. As he finds his voice and uses it, he fortifies his community.
The life span of honeybees is sadly short yet amazingly worthy. As they enrich their existence with worthwhile actions, they pass on a proud legacy to the next breed of honeybees. I remember a cliché from the Salesian nuns, “Bloom where you are planted.” Up until this point, I have thought that line trivial. As I learn from the honeybees, the line becomes meaningful. Living as worthy human beings is not that difficult. Being excellent in everything we do is our calling. Opportunities will always knock on our doors. Success defines the story of every man – as soon as he starts recognizing his inherent worth, his relationship with the world, and everything else that he is capable of becoming.
He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much, who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men, and love of little children, who has filled his niche and accomplished his task, who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul, who has never lacked appreciation of Earth’s beauty or failed to express it, who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had, whose life was an inspiration, whose memory a benediction. – Bessie Anderson Stanley