5 Reasons To Think Like A Squirrel

I was sitting in my dining room at home having lunch one fine spring day, biting thoughtlessly into a ham and cheese sandwich while staring out the window at the world beyond and contemplating the vagueness of the last New York Times Crossword clue I just read. My brain was starting to show signs of the struggle against the puzzle, so I withdrew from the battle and focused my attention on the beauty of the great outdoors just beyond my window.

Think Like a Squirrel

There they were, a pair of what my friend calls “bushy-tailed rats.” If you’ve ever experienced the more annoying sides of their nature, you know they can be a nuisance or downright destructive. Of course, I’m talking about squirrels.

“But isn’t this an article about how to be like a squirrel?” you ask. Good question. This is an article about how to think like a squirrel. The inspiration of thinking like a squirrel came from witnessing their behavior, oddly enough. I saw one squirrel chase the other up a tree trunk, out on a limb, leap across a great divide onto a limb of another tree, and onto the roof of the adjacent house. It made me realize that they truly live in a 3-dimensional environment where their movement is almost unrestricted. It creates opportunities for wonderful patterns of motion that we humans simply cannot imitate (unless maybe you are a parkour practitioner). But the idea behind taking nonlinear paths to get to a destination involves thinking creatively and can potentially lead to new discoveries and/or new insights.

It also made me think of other ways that squirrels’ annoying behaviors are based on thought processes that are worthy of aping. By the way, aping is a crossword answer that likely never sees the light of day outside of puzzles. This blog may now be the exception to that mostly truthful rule. But I digress.

How should you think like a squirrel? Here are 5 ways:

  1. Don’t take the shortest path to your destination. Look for new ways to accomplish your personal or business goals that might lead you to new experiences, relationships, sights, or locations.
  2. Plan ahead. This is what squirrels are known for. They “squirrel away” food during the fall to sustain them in the winter. Planning ahead is a good thing. It’s why the Boy Scouts of America have their motto, “Be prepared.”
  3. Be bold. Some might look at squirrels’ actions and, pardon the pun, consider them “nuts.” They can seem fearless in their performances of aerial highwire acrobatics and bounding leaps of bravery. Now I’m not suggesting we emulate their dangerous actions, but I would encourage others to be bold and step out of their comfort zone once in a while. You might be surprised at what you are capable of or can learn to do.
  4. Be cautious. I know, I know, I just said “be bold.” But there is a benefit in thinking things through (remember “plan ahead”?) and making yourself aware of the risks or potential dangers surrounding you. If you know where the dangers/traps lie, you can more easily avoid them. Know when to be bold and when to be cautious.
  5. Be perseverant. Squirrels are nothing if not tenacious little critters. At least when it comes to finding and securing food, they will persist and persist at a task until completion. Often that tenacity and perseverance pays off. We should adopt that mindset.

So there you have it. Five ways you should think like a squirrel. Doing so will hopefully lead to new experiences and personal growth with positive effects in your life (business, personal, or otherwise). Now I must get back to my crossword puzzle and see if I can find the 8-letter answer to the clue “one who stows away.”


Tom Allen

Tom Allen

Senior Vice President

Tom has over 20 years of research experience spanning several industries, including retail, restaurants, consumer packaged goods, and financial services. He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from The University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Business Administration in Marketing from The University of Texas at Arlington.

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