Are you a spider or an ant? Which insect do you resemble more? Which one are you more like? Which one do you aspire to be?

I’m not talking about whether you live in a web or an anthill. However, by observing these small creatures, we can learn a lot — especially about ourselves.

Here are three ways to evaluate how you operate in a professional setting based on observations of the spider and the ant.

Waiting vs. Getting

Most spiders build webs and stay there in their webs waiting for another insect to come along. Once that insect gets stuck in their web, then the spider finds the prey and feasts upon it. But if nothing comes along, the spider has nothing to eat and it dies.

Ants, on the other hand, go out and get their food. From spring to fall, they are busy collecting their food to last them all winter.

When it comes to opportunity, are you a spider or an ant? Do you wait for opportunity to knock, or do you go out and get it?

While some people may try to make waiting sound more spiritual, Jesus honored those who were willing to risk stepping out in their faith. Your willingness to act on what you believe will help make your faith real. Score: Ant 1, Spider 0.

Loner vs. Team Player

Spiders always work alone. You never see a team of spiders building a web or attacking their prey together. Spiders are loners. They eat alone, and — if they don’t — they die alone.

Ants, on the other hand, are team players. They work together to do everything they do. While each ant has its particular role, they each do their role in the context of a larger whole.

When it comes to your work, are you a spider or an ant? Are you a loner or are you a team player?

Even if you enjoy working alone, no one is a self-made man. You need people in your life. Everyone needs others to help them be successful. Score: Ant 2, Spider 0.

Big Win vs. Incremental Steps

Spiders are only looking for one meal at a time. When their prey gets stuck in their web, they will eat well for a while. But then the spider has to wait for its next meal.

Ants, on the other hand, are always looking for a little more. They collectively are searching for a little here and a little there — which over time adds up to a whole lot.

When it comes to pursuing your goals, are you a spider or an ant? Are you looking for your one big break, or are you looking to add to your string of little wins?

Incremental wins help you become the person you want to become. One big break will fade. But continuously moving forward in little steps help you get where you want to go. Slow and steady wins the race. Score: Ant 3, Spider 0.

Here’s the key takeaway. If you’re waiting around to make it on your own by looking for your big break, it’s not going to happen. But if you get out there and enlist others to help you make incremental gains, then you will eventually get to where you want to go.

So if you’re looking for advice, don’t ask a spider. Find an ant.

As a bestselling author, conference speaker, executive coach, and business growth expert, Robert McFarland helps serious business owners generate more clients, close more sales, and increase their overall revenue and profits. He can be reached at

(1) comment


Excellent column Mr. McFarland. Excellent advice.

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