Moving Forward, learning from the wildebees

I have visited Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya several times and every time I leave the park I always want to go back. One thing that brings me here is the famous migration of wildebeest. Every year, approximately 1.5 million of these beauteous animals and their closest friends trek almost 800 kilometres through plains of Kenya and Tanzania.

And they must do this every year, back and forth, for the rest of their life spans, which can reach up to 40 years. Members of the herd move in unison and neither bump into each other nor stray from the path because the entire herd overcomes obstacles as one. This phenomenon is known as swarm intelligence. The gnu, as they are called, also instinctively split into smaller groups called “mega herds” to ensure adequate distribution of resources among the collective group. These “mega herds” follow slightly different routes but still head in the same direction. This migration is hard work.

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When the first wildebeest decides to cross Mara River to Serengetti or to Masai Mara, the rest all follow. A stampede occurs, within a matter of seconds, the silence turns to loud screams and cries as the wildebeest do everything in their power to successfully cross the river. It’s exhilarating, drama-filled and somber all at the same time. The animals cross river, the violent currents of which can swallow dozens at a time. Crocodiles lurk in the shallow waters in droves, just waiting to pull them under. At night, they have to rest in shifts for protection from the lions and cheetahs waiting for them in the grass. There is starvation, dehydration and a slew of other challenges that threaten to thwart their progress and end their lives.

The true nugget in this story, however, is not in the fight to the finish, but in how they actually get their gloves on in the first place. In the spirit of finding great examples of moving forward , the outlook of the situation sort of changes. That means, there are 1.5 million other thinking, emotional animals out there, fighting for their lives too — every day. And the two things that make them successful are the relationships they build with others who support them and their sheer will to succeed.

While your goals probably have nothing to do with dodging crocodiles in a river or fighting off lions, there is something amazing happening here that is worth making a connection to. If your  forward requires the best of your intelligence and heart to surmount great obstacles, give some thought to the wildebeest migration journey. Find some people who will truly support your goal. For example, if it’s to lose weight, join an online group of strangers who understand your fears and excitement. In life there are people who lift you up, who make you feel special, important people who drive passion into your soul and it makes you get up in the morning.

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