10 Lessons We Can Learn From Animals

Animals have a lot of valuable lessons to teach us, and if we listen carefully we can learn how to incorporate these lessons into our own lives.

From forgiveness and generosity to trust and unconditional love, animals are truly inspirational role models who, when given a chance, can enrich our own appreciation of life and provide us with a thought provoking promise of what is possible.

1. Forgive and Forget

Animals, unlike humans, have an incredible ability to forgive. Despite extreme trauma they may have experienced in the past, they manage to remain optimistic and not hold on to grudges. Take Jasper for example: even after the unspeakable treatment he was subjected to when living on a bear bile farm, he has become an ambassador for forgiveness and hope.

2. Don’t Worry What Others Think

Whether chasing balls, pouncing on strings, or rolling in catnip, animals relish in their activities without concern about how they look to passersby. Let go of your inner critic and judgment of others, and fully embrace the times you enjoy.

3. Love Unconditionally

Animals don’t put conditions on their love. They are kind without reserve and love each other and us regardless of our faults. Many of us find it awkward to comfort those we don’t know, but animals are always empathetic to those in need and dogs in particular markedly change their behavior when people cry.

4. Savor The Moment

Animals live in the moment and so should we. As humans we are too often distracted by our thoughts of the past and the future, and forget to fully appreciate what is happening in our lives right now.

5. Trust Your Instincts

Fully alert to each of their senses, animals trust their instincts and act upon them. They use their instincts as a way of navigating through life. Humans, on the other hand, rationalize everything and constantly ignore what are senses are trying to convey to us, and in doing so we miss important signals about events, circumstances and the people around us.

6. Play Fair

Making time to have fun and let loose is vital, but only if you play fair. Studies show that fair play helps both human animals and non-human animals survive. Canines are some of the most moral of us all with their own innate code of conduct when it comes to play time.

7. Relax and Reflect

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to fill our days with places to be and people to meet, but don’t underestimate the importance of the quiet moments. Take a cue from our cats and dogs and other animals and relax once in a while.

8. Express Yourself

With so many words to choose from, expressing how we feel should be easy, but that’s not always the case. We often neglect to use the many alternative ways of expressing ourselves such as the tone of our voice, our facial expressions, our body language and our posture.

9. Share Abundantly

It’s easy to get caught up in our own wants and desires, but animals remind us that sharing is essential to our success. Humpback whales are one species who place huge importance on cultural transmission. Not only do they learn songs from each other, they also share feeding techniques that allow them to safeguard against the effects of changing ecology.

10. Don’t Ever Give Up

If you ever need inspiration to keep going, then look to the salmon. Our fishy friends swim thousands of miles upstream in efforts to make it back to their birthplace just so they can spawn the next generation. That impossible task on your to-do list doesn’t seem so unachievable now, does it?

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 months ago

thanks for the article.

Chanelle Els
Chanelle Els11 months ago

These are amazing. We can learn so much from animals. They are so clever and adorable. We should take better care of them. Here is a related list of lessons learned from monkeys http://www.ohmycreativesoul.com/10-life-lessons-learned-monkeys/.

Carrie-Anne Brown
Carrie-Anne Brownabout a year ago

thanks for sharing :)

Latonya W.
Latonya W.2 years ago


Laura R.
Laura R.2 years ago

oh yes, and we can learn so much more than this from them! Thank you! :)

Laurie S.
Laurie S.2 years ago

continued, so close...

3 of 3

...see the very same thing in them.

I speak for the voiceless.

Laurie S.
Laurie S.2 years ago

2 of 2

If all of these are so "normal" and so desirable, if, according to the psychology literature, having these negatives make a person so much better that anyone who possesses less of them is considered delayed or disordered, what does the consensus about this article say about the true worth of "normalcy?"

Next time you get ready to judge an Aspie as intentionally rude just because they don't have all these analysis functions and their darker applications, next time you think, "Well, they should just know better! Everyone else does! No one should have to be told! It's not my responsibility! Oh, I know they say they don't get it, but *I* know that everyone does; they're just faking or making a choice to be different, so they deserve (put nasty consequence of your choice here). I'm self righteous judge, jury and executioner so I'm going to teach them a lesson by (put nasty action of your own here), or any other social "reasoning" not listed, just think about this article.

Just think about the time when you wrote in response to this article that the animals and Aspies of this world have it right, and how much better things would be if the normal people of the earth imitated them.

Just think about the last time you saw someone abuse an animal and how every line of its being cried out, "I'm hurt! Where did that come from? Why did that happen? Did I do something wrong? Then look at an Aspie or Autie being socially punished and see if you can see the very same thing

Laurie S.
Laurie S.2 years ago

1 of 2

This is not going to make me more popular here, but I expect that will pass. Sometimes it is my duty to be the gadfly on behalf of those who suffer and cannot speak to the issue as well as I can, so here goes.

It surprises me that no one has mentioned Aspies. I am myself an Aspie, and although we don't actually take it all the way to the level described in the article, these good traits are very common among people on the high end of the spectrum. And yet look at how society treats us when we are children.

Some of us are lucky enough, or perseverant enough, or both to "pass" in their later years (like me, thank goodness) so that we can live fine lives, but I'd like to point out that the opposite side of the coin posed in this article is all the things that are so lauded in the books as "normal" social empathy and theory of mind.

Here they are: grudge holding, not forgiving, obsessive worry about what other people might be thinking, not being empathetic or compassionate because we make decisions based on who we think other people are, not on their needs, and all other forms of social hierarchy and judgment, not trusting our senses but instead referring to the group perception of what is possible, good, correct, etc., unfairness, not expressing yourself, not sharing, deliberate dishonesty, especially for personal gain, and so on.


Ruhee B.
Ruhee B.2 years ago

Animals are the best. Plus the only "waste" they are responsible for is completely biodegradable and doesn't pollute the planet for everyone else!

MIrko Gusmaroli
MIrko Gusmaroli2 years ago

lesson 11: only animals born and live innocent. Humans born innocent but grow up to be greedy and selfish.