When you think about it, parenting can feel a little unnatural in the modern world. Having kids can get in the way of our working lives. It can disrupt the ideals of individualism which prevail in the US as an example. Becoming pregnant can disrupt the conventional education system if you happen to become pregnant in grad school, college or even high school.
In nature outside of the human experience, parenting and the introduction of offspring happens without disruption. You see in human culture, specifically in the developed world, where our thinking around parenting and becoming a family has outstripped our biology in the rate of change.
We’ve seen this before with food. Humans not to long ago were consumed with finding food and spent much of their waking hours doing so. We’re wired biologically to find a wild fruit and devour it for our own survival. Now with relative ease we can easily find high fat high sugar foods in essentially unlimited quantity. Though our mind says stop after a certain point, our biology says keep eating … it may be a while before you find more. This is a part of the obesity factor.
Now with parenting, the modern industrial world is built around growth and production, and because of this, much of our culture is as well. The mechanics of it all do not support or encourage prolonged removal from the “machine” to focus on the family. This is an over generalization. But it illustrates the conflict between the family’s best interest (biological) and the working world’s best interest (economical).
How does non human nature do it?
Biomimicry is the imitation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems.
It is both more harsh and more sensitive at the same time. In many primates, the young remain with one or both parents for much longer than the traditional human 6-weeks maternity leave.
It could be perceived as more harsh in that the young are very quickly “put to work” or exposed to real danger to things like predators while leaving the nest and participating in the search for food (work).
In your parenting what can you learn by studying how other animals do it?
In business and entrepreneurship, biomimicry is providing insight into how we innovate with our technology in more sustainable ways.
Since nature has refined what works and doesn’t over billions of years, we have a lot to learn from the vast experiments played out over millenia across multiple branches of evolution.
Again it’s our thinking brain and culture that can get in the way by thinking we have to figure out innovation in the sterile environment of our minds, board rooms, and labs.
It’s also our thinking minds that can get out of their own introspective way and try to learn more by looking outside into the natural world.
If you are struggling with a business or entrepreneurship challenge, try looking to nature for inspiration and proven processes that may be just outside your current awareness.
Where can you look to nature for solutions to your business problems?