People flock from all over to visit the Blue-footed Boobies of the Galapagos Islands, famous for their surprisingly blue feet and elaborate mating ritual. Thought to take their name from Early European colonists who used the Spanish word “bobo” to characterize them, meaning “stupid”, the birds appear clumsy at first sight, but only on land. Their clownish and stilted movements are just a result of them being out of their optimal environment.
But see a booby folding back their wings to streamline their bodies and plunging into the water from as high as 80 feet (at speeds of up to 60 mph) and stupid is the last word you’ll be thinking.
So what can we learn from this supposedly awkward bird? Here are 4 life lessons we can learn from boobies:
1. Reserve your judgement
We’re usually told to dance like no-ones watching but the male Blue-Footed Boobies of Galapagos island use dance to attract their mate, putting their best blue foot forwards to impress her with its superior blue pigment (seen as a sign of health and fertility).
We so often rush into making a decision, allowing ourselves to be swept away by what’s merely a show. Whether it’s a date who is trying to impress you by throwing money around, or a business partner who is trying to convince you of their worth, stand back and observe like the female blue-footed booby as she takes the time to evaluate her potential mate. Fancy dance moves (or elaborate pitches) only go so far.
2. Be humble
The male blue-footed boobies of Galapagos really do strut their stuff in their attempt to get attention, much like a rooster does in front of his hens. But they also bow their heads to their potential mate as part of the dance. Humility is not only attractive, it shows strength of character. Adopting a more humble mindset increases our overall psychological wellbeing and allows us to function better in society.
Arrogance is offputting. Nobody needs another cocky, arrogant, idiot in the world flaunting their self-fixation. So, cheer when others succeed, learn how to take a compliment and say thank you a LOT. You’re seriously misguided if you think that you got where you are because of your innate skills/strength/amazingness.
3. Give more
After strutting their stuff, Male Boobies often bring gifts to their prospective mate. A few twigs, feathers or even a tiny stone go a long way (even if this may seem like a small gift). So, in the non-booby world, the lesson is not to give too much, but to still be giving (read more on self-care if you don’t know the difference).
Give a compliment every now and then. Giving makes you more likeable. It also makes you like yourself more. It’s also good for your health and improves your wellbeing. So, ask yourself, how can I be more generous today?
4. Work together
We all know the saying: “birds of a feather flock together”. Well, blue-footed boobies often hunt together, because they’re more successful as part of a team. While working alone can feel easier, it’s usually not (especially not in the long-term). “No man is an island”, wrote poet and writer John Donne and truer words have never been spoken. We, humans, fail to see the connections between things. Between everything.
Working with others expands your capacity, forces you to grow and tests your humility. It also allows you to get more done – if you get the teamwork part right.
Decide who you can help today, and who might be able to help you with whatever problem or challenge you’re facing.
You might be surprised at what you learn when you work with others.
Blue-footed booby Success formula: 4 Life lessons that will make you wise like a Galapagos booby
- Reserve judgement – avoid rushing into everything like a giant boob/bo-bo
- Be humble, support others and practice gratitude – don’t be a show-off with no substance
- Give more (how cool is this?!)
- Work together (there’s no I in boobies… wait :-):-):-)
Which quality of the Galapagos Blue Footed Boobies is most relevant to you today? Let us know in the comments below or shoot us an email. We’d love to hear if you’ve tried one of the lessons learned from these unique, disarming and special birds (yes, we know…obsessed much?).