When I was a kid growing up in Missouri I sold Christmas Cards one year just to make enough quarters to buy an ant farm. The kid next door had one and I loved to sit and watch through the glass sides as a small army of industrious ants tunneled through the sand.
I never really thought about the ant perspective until I read a humorous dialogue in a marvelous book called Ant Farm by Simon Rich.
It’s not only a fascinating book crammed with short, humorous stories, but a very interesting collection of bizarre tales that metaphorically reflect the human condition. Buy the book and I promise you a day of absolute wet-your-pants laughter.
In the Ant Farm dialogue below, the author has imagined a conversation between the leader ant and his workers as they try to find a way out of their desperate situation.
What struck me were the similarities between the plight of the ants and the equally frustrating efforts of many Network Marketers who just keep doing the same things year after year and expecting different results. Here’s how Simon Rich imagines it.
“Ant Leader – All right team, listen up. As you know, we’ve built seven tunnels and we still haven’t found a way through the glass. I can tell you’re discouraged and I don’t blame you. Tunnel 7 was our most ambitious project to date and you all risked your lives to make it happen. But rest assured, we’ll be out of this hellish wasteland soon enough. I have a plan.
Ant Worker – What is it? What’s the plan?
Ant Leader – An eighth tunnel. Through the sand.
Ant Worker – I don’t know, sir…we’ve been digging tunnels ever since we got here. We always end up hitting glass. We lost ten on the first tunnel: Brian, Jack, Chris –
Ant Leader – I know their names.
Ant Worker – Why don’t’ we just give up? I mean seriously, what’s the point?
Ant Leader – The point? The point is we have no food or water. The point is we’re trapped in this crazy desert, and if we don’t find an exit soon we’re going to suffocate.
Ant Worker – What kind of God would put us here, just to torture us? Sand to the left…sand to the right…
Ant Leader – It’s a test, William. He’s testing us.
Ant Worker – You’re right. We can do this. We just have to work ten times harder than we’ve ever worked before! (Starts digging)
Ant Worker – You want to know something? I’ve got a good feeling about this one. A really good feeling.”
Many times I’ve wanted to point out the futility of some MLM companies, but that’s not my role as an industry author and mentor. Unfortunately, many people fail in our industry because they join companies with pay plans that are cash games, products that nobody needs, owners who are inexperienced and leaders with no loyalty.
Many great people fail because they are sucked into Ant Farm Networking.
If you wind up digging and digging over and over and continue to remain financially desperate…maybe it’s time to try some new digging strategies or sell the farm and join a new one that at least meets the basic criteria for a viable Network Marketing company.
…More on those basic criteria in a future blog.