Money Lessons from the Animal Kingdom

Recently, a reader commented that a lack of discipline was one of the primary reasons many people were not successful in their personal and financial goals. He noted that most animals, unlike many humans, were disciplined in their everyday habits, which resulted in a sense of order and efficiency in nature.

I thought about the many wild animals that exhibit very civilised attitudes towards carrying out their purposes. Although human beings might be more developed than other creatures, there are many valuable lessons that we can learn from them. Let’s examine some animal behaviours that can teach us important truths about the achievement of financial goals.

Envision A Better Life Like A Caterpillar

I believe that it would probably be easy for the lowly caterpillar to despair as it crawls along the pathways of life. Inching along at a painfully slow pace as it tries to eke out a living, dodging the threats of extermination from humans who despise its very existence. Why should a caterpillar dare to dream of a better life?

Yet within the spirit of the caterpillar there lies the hope of a butterfly. As long as it keeps the dream alive, this insect will continue to strive until the day it becomes one of nature’s most beautiful and desirable creatures.

Want to learn how to achieve your goals? CLICK HERE!

In these tough economic times, you may be tempted to dwell on your current money problems and think that there is no hope. When you think of the caterpillar, be inspired to hope for a brighter future, despite the challenges of your current financial situation. As author Alvin Day asserted in his motivational book, “If caterpillars can fly, so can I!”

Set Clear Goals And Plan Deliberately Like An Ant

Have you ever placed a choice item of food in an area in your kitchen and felt sure that it would be safe from intrusion by ants, only to turn up hours later to find that the pesky insects have discovered your perfect hiding place? I have always marvelled at the ant’s ability to zone in on a target and achieve its objective despite any obstacle in its way.

In fact, if these insects were human, I could imagine them setting clear goals to get what they wanted out of life. They would be very specific about the end result, measuring what it would take to be successful, giving themselves achievable targets, while ensuring that the project was relevant to their needs and establishing a timeline for goal completion.

Remember the tactical nature of the ant as you try to convert your dreams into smart goals. Just as this creature enlists the help of a team to successfully attain its objectives, so should you seek expert advice in creating a workable plan to achieve your financial goals.

Execute Your Plans Persistently Like A Spider

Nature demonstrates the value of persistent progress towards a goal through the habits of a spider. If you have ever observed this animal at work creating its web, you will appreciate the dedicated work and constant effort that is required to turn any dream into reality.

The spider knows that the successful implementation of its web-building plan will provide a safe haven and ready food supply. It is not discouraged by the fact that it is a long and complex procedure to create a web; it just starts working diligently until the end result is achieved. Even if unforeseen occurrences destroy what it has already built, it simply begins the process all over again without complaint.

Once you have created an outline for attaining your objectives, you must start immediately with some small act to cement your commitment to the plan. Like the spider, you have to consistently execute all the little steps that will eventually produce your desired outcome.

Keep Focused On Your Goal Like A Racehorse

Many years ago, I had the opportunity to get a better understanding of the psychology of horses that race for a living. I was trapped in a carriage with a runaway horse that I later discovered was a retired racehorse. As a courageous rescuer tried to give chase, the animal only became more determined and increased its speed, leaving its competitor far behind.

As the horse proceeded swiftly towards a finish line that it could vividly see in its mind’s eye, the only thing that could derail its natural racing instinct was the providential collision of the carriage with a street sign. The unstoppable spirit of the racehorse ensures that it keeps on going until it reaches its target.

As you proceed down the pathway towards goal achievement, whether you adopt a leisurely canter or breakneck racing speed, you will only succeed if you continue onwards despite tiredness, setbacks, fear and negativity. Emulate the racehorse’s relentless ability to keep focused on the end result, and adopt its never-say-die attitude.

Keep looking to nature for inspiration, as there are many more ordinary animals that exhibit exemplary habits which can teach us the basic principles of financial success.

Copyright © 2009 Cherryl Hanson Simpson. No reproduction without written consent.


Subscribe to Financially S.M.A.R.T. by Email

Originally published in The Daily Observer, October 22, 2009

Cherryl is a financial consultant and coach, founder of Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services. See more of her work at and Contact Cherryl