Learning to Ride the Raindrops

Most of us spend part of our summer trying to avoid or eradicate mosquitoes.  As it turns out, these tiny pests have an important lesson to teach us.
A group of mechanical engineering students at Georgia Tech conducted an experiment to discover how mosquitoes survive rain.  To the mosquito, rain is the epitome of significant change from a beautiful sunny day to life-threatening danger. A single raindrop is the equivalent of a 3 ton boulder falling on them.  So how do they do it?
First, they don’t try to resist the rain drops.  They don’t carry on about how the rain is unfair or ask “Why me?” Instead they’ve learned to adapt.  How do we react to change in our markets, in our workplace, in our lives?  Typically we try to fight it, avoid it, or look at change as a big problem to be overcome.
Second, mosquitoes don’t try to outrun the rain drop. That’s like trying to dodge comets.  By comparison, how often do we go into scatter mode, shot gunning our marketing, making impulsive decisions and panicking about money or results or some other measurement we’re using to try to be “in control”?
Professor David Hu says that his team learned that mosquitoes don’t actually dodge the raindrops, they hitch a ride.  When a raindrop hits a mosquito, the mosquito and raindrop join together and the mosquito rides the drop for about a thousandth of a second before its wings, acting as kites, pull it out of the water.
Inspired Action Steps:
To relate that to business, when we are aware of change or a shift, we can

  • Choose to follow the momentum and move in the direction of the change; not struggling, not efforting and not resisting.
  • Collaborate with our internal teams and external allies.  Brainstorm solutions, research what others in your industry are doing, modify the strategic or tactical plan.
  • Co-create with our customers, employees and vendors to adjust to what’s happening and make decisions and take actions that are in the alignment with the flow.

The other important lesson is to allow the new momentum to lift us out of the challenge so we can “fly off” to the next adventure.  We don’t ride the raindrop into the ground, but look for new opportunities and express gratitude for the lift.
According to Hu, by joining the raindrop mosquitoes experience very little force and to them it’s like getting hit with a feather.
So in the face of challenge, change, and other things we can’t control; don’t resist, don’t dodge…RIDE THE RAINDROP!


Are you the type of person who goes with the flow or do you always want to be in control? Let me know your answer in the comments down below.

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