Ecosystems and niches

Ecosystems and niches

I used to get very upset that other people didn’t think like me or strive for the same things as me. 😡

I can remember doing many group projects (at school and at work) where I felt like I put the team on my back and others weren’t contributing. ‘Why are you lounging around doing a coffee chat with someone when we need to hit our team target in a couple weeks?’ I would think to myself.

This used to really piss me of. Sometimes it still does. But I’ve started to view humanity and the people in it more like ecosystems and niches. And this has made me less mad at others for not thinking the same way as me, working as hard as me, etc.

I’m not suggesting this is a perfect metaphor. But hear me out.

From my understanding of it, in an ecosystem you get niches that different animals fill to satisfy their needs, survive, and reproduce. The bees 🐝 get nectar from the flowers and then create honey. The chipmunks 🐿 find nuts and berries and store them away. The raccoons 🦝 eat the garbage lol.

Each of these animals has been able to find a particular niche and way of life that satisfies them. And, although there is definitely violence that happens - wolves eat the rabbits and spiders trap insects - on the whole, all animals are able to live harmoniously and sustainably amongst each other. (This could be survivorship bias though; maybe I’m only seeing the animals that are still around after they died off due to another species competing with them)

I’ve started to view humans in this way. Before it would slightly bug me (or I guess, maybe I would feel I’m superior to) people who went into trades/went to college, bought a house and truck and snow machines, etc. I’d think, ‘Wow, they are so dumb and materialistic.’

Now, however, I see humans more like animals in ecosystems. If Bob wants to work as a labourer at the steel plant straight out of high school, hey, why not?! 🤷🏼‍♂️ As a society at large, organizations, etc. all need diverse __________ in order to get what they need done done. So why judge them for doing their part in helping make the world go round!?


From Naval:


Written: October 19, 2020


  • I feel like there might be some economic theory aligned with this? Diversification/specialization of labour?