Kakaire Steven King
4 min readFeb 17, 2024
Photo by Roger Bruner on Unsplash

A story is told of a small village in Trinidad, an island of the Caribbean. The inhabitants of this isolated but small island were either of African or East Indian descent, their ancestors having arrived as either slaves (remember your high school history lessons of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade at the coast of West Africa) or indentured servants (who were ironically told that the streets of America were paved with gold and silver. They were optimistic opportunists). Each group lived peacefully in their enclave, on different sides of the same long dirt road that separated their homes.

These two groups had diametrically opposite views about each other. According to the East Indians, the Africans were just pleasure-bent, impulsive, eager to have a good time and live in the moment, while never planning or thinking ahead about the future.

The Africans saw their East Indian neighbors as always working hard and slaving for the future, stuffing their money under the mattress without ever enjoying life.

The above story resonates with Aesop’s fable about a grasshopper and an ant.

The Aesop’s fable about the grasshopper and ant speaks of the diametrically opposite lifestyles of grasshoppers and ants. The indolent, hedonistic and epicurean grasshopper is hopping around, chirping happily in the summer sun and enjoying the here and now, while the worried, busy ant is toiling to put away food for the winter.

The grasshopper is indulging in reflexive unconscious pleasures, while the ant is delaying gratification for the sake of later survival. The grasshopper is pleasure-bent and future inconsiderate. It lives in the here and now. Never planning for the future. It is jackassing around and quiddling for most of its wake time.

In contrast, the ant is reflective, logical and conscious. Always living with the future in mind. Psychologically, it vividly lives every moment of the prospective future without indulging in the here and now. It is delaying red-hot temptations of hopping, jackassing, quiddling and chirping and never being unrealistically optimistic for the best to rain someday. As my financial education mentor Robert Kiyosaki says, “Hope is for the hopeless”.

When winter comes (read tough times strike), the hopeless grasshopper regrets the time and resources it wasted during the summer. It is starving and it’s left with negligible energy to die a death it shall live to remember. Its body is hypersensitive to the unforgiving pangs of angry hunger and the remorseless coldness of winter. It realizes its life has angrily turned against it with overwhelming wrath.

In greater contrast, the ant and family are merry-making, tossing glasses of wine, stretching their healthy lips with smiles, having the best dinner-time conversations you shall ever hear. They are enjoying the warmth in the anthill they built. They look back in retrospect and thank themselves for making the right decisions during the summer time. They hug and handshake as they appreciate each other’s contribution for the future that has been pulled to present.

Honestly, I, for one find it ridiculous to compare a person to a grasshopper given its unconscious indulgent lifestyle. Often times, people live their lives like grasshoppers. Never thinking and planning for their later-life.

They live in the here and now. They are pleasure-bent, indolent and hedonistic. In hard times, they hope and wish it rained peace, grace, good health, healthy relationships and abundance. During their youthful and energetic years, they are party-animals, hoping from party to party over the weekends. Their health is in a ratty state given the excessive drinking and drug-addiction. Their marital relationships are on the cliff because they have unconsciously lopsided to one-night-stands.

The Grasshopper lifestyles explains why some people retire into ruthless poverty and can’t afford retirement. They lack a roof over their heads and a blanket to warm them not to mention the poor or no meals. It is gets uglier the further I imagine a ‘grasshopper’ who hopped, chirped, jackass-ed and quiddled during the summer and never planned for the future.

Recent research has demystified why the ‘ants’ are able to make witful decisions and live healthy and fulfilling lives. It is all about imagining the future self and planning for that fore-thought person. It takes behavioral change and a persistent discipline to live an ant-life. What happens when you travel through time in your imagination and think about yourself in the future? If you are emotionally connected to your future-self, you are more likely to consider that future-self in all your present decisions.

Given the choice between being a grasshopper or an ant, I firmly believe it is far way better being an ant. I pose a question, are you a grasshopper or an ant? This question doesn’t call for a verbal no-or-yes answer. It calls for a behavioral lifestyle.

Peace and Grace.