Sometimes it’s the simpler things …

Ouch! Actually I said something much worse, luckily no one was there other than the trees to hear me. I won’t complain though, I know the risks of digging into a bee hive. This particular one has a nasty infestation of small hive beetles (SHB) which makes for VERY unhappy bees. Despite being there to help the hive, the guardian worker bees aggressively attach and sting at the bee suit. One manages to force his stinger unexpectedly through the rubber gloves I’m wearing and voilà, my right hand is twice the size of my left hand in a matter of minutes. I’ve got but a limited amount of time before my hand will swell to the point I won’t be able to fully use my fingers and the pain will set in. So I push harder to catalog and begin the initial treatment of the colony. Physically removing (and squishing) the evasive pests from Africa is the principle method of treatment. While seeming a simple solution it is far more complex than it sounds. How, simply, do you remove parasitic eggs laid in the wax at the bottom of brood cells? The tiny creatures hatch and begin to feast on the developing bee larvae in mass. It is only a matter of time, one by one the unborn larva, pupa are eaten This hive by itself in its current state will not recover. Even though the beetle larva goes dormant during the winter they come back as the weather warms up to feast upon the bee larva.

The small hive beetle infests this hive.
The adult small hive beetle hide in the corners of the top of this hive.

The honey bee hive with any type of infestation has big problems. Their solution to infestations would be to simply relocate, maybe that’s a solution we can all learn from. A dear friend, and oddly enough a fellow bee keeper – the one I blame for getting me into this mess to start with, has done just that. We’ll call him “Fred”, cause that’s his name. He’s one of the most determinate persons I know. While quick to temper in his hulking figure of a man, he is one of the happiest people I know despite being from the cold frigid northeast (this isn’t a slight, simply an observation). Fred having experienced some set backs in life, one employer that went bankrupt, another that company was sold, a marriage of over 20 years that ended and a rebellious out of control teen turned adult. From the outside looking in things didn’t look good, yet Fred ALWAYS smiled when we were together. He’d cop this “well what are you going to do?” comments at the thoughts of adversity. I admire his tenacity to be happy and resilient.

Hive beetles flow out of the top of this hive once exposed to light.

There’s something about simplicity. Being happy really is simple. You just have to do it. Yet sometimes a plan or understanding to achieving the goal of happiness can’t hurt. Through LinkedIn I learned about Neil Pasricha, author and motivational speaker. He believes he has a solution to “The Happiness Equation”. He shared three of the nine secrets to happiness in a Google Talks meeting. The first secret is that the traditional sequence to happiness where if you do 1) great work you’ll achieve 2) a big success which will 3) make you happy is backwards. He rationalizes that if you are 1) happy you’ll 2) do great work and 3) be a big success. In working toward developing the first secret to his thought path he suggests:

  • taking three 20 minute walks
  • having a 20 minute replay of the day
  • doing 5 random acts of kindness
  • 20 minutes of meditation and
  • identifying 5 gratitudes from the week

Secret #2 is the secret to never being too busy again. He notes that the average person gets 147 emails a day, that you check your phone roughly 150 times a day, and you make an average of 295 decisions a day. We unnecessarily make our days complex with so many decisions and there are primarily two ways to cope, sleep and glucose. Simplifying decision making by creating space is key.

  • Automate low priority low time commitment decisions,
  • regulating the low priority high time commitment decisions
  • effectuate (get ‘er done) decisions that are high priority yet have low time commitments
  • debate the big decisions that require high time commitment high priority decisions

The secret number three is “just do it”. We tend to think in the following order of approaching problems:

can do (the capability) –> want to do (motivation) –> do (action)

When really we should simply “just do it” in the following sequence:

do (take action) –> want to (action leads to motivation) –> can do (leads to increased capability)

Neil Pasricha: “The Happiness Equation” | Talks at Google

With all this turmoil and social infestation of life, Fred (calculatedly so) decided to follow in the response a compromised hive and look for another place to live … a place to thrive. So like the insects he’s nurtured over the years he’s relocated himself to an unnamed South American country to start a new in a place that is simpler.

A bag of ice is my best friend this afternoon. I type this handicapped with the equivalent of fat, stiff, unbend-able, stick like fingers. … but it’s the simpler things.

Dang. I got stung in the ankle too. Grrr …

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