Extract from the book.
The story of the Processionary Caterpillar illustrates human behaviour, or rather human habit, so well. It probably illustrates typical job hunting activity better than any other example of behaviour. The larvae of the moth Ochrogaster lunifer has the common name ‘Processionary Caterpillar’ because as it walks along, it leaves a thread of silk which enables the caterpillar behind it to follow the thread. As each caterpillar follows the silken trail, they begin to walk in single file, nose to tail and move along like a miniature train. The French naturalist, Jean Henri Fabre, studied these insects in detail. What makes this caterpillar special is its instinct to blindly follow the one in front of it. This behaviour not only gives the caterpillar its name, but also a deadly characteristic. Fabre demonstrated this unique behaviour with a simple experiment. He took a flowerpot and placed the caterpillars in single file around the circumference of the pot’s rim. Each caterpillar's head touched the one in front. He then placed the caterpillars' favourite food in the middle of the circle created by the procession around the rim of the flowerpot. Each caterpillar followed the one ahead, thinking that it was heading for the food. Round and round went the caterpillars for seven days and seven nights. After a week of this mindless activity, the caterpillars started to die from exhaustion and starvation. All they had to do to avoid death was to stop the senseless circling of the flowerpot and head directly towards the food which was less than six inches away from them. However, the processionary caterpillars were fixed into this routine, this habit and could not extricate themselves from this mindless behaviour.
They mistook activity for accomplishment.
As human beings, we are different from caterpillars. We surely have the ability to change our direction in life. Or do we? We often confuse motion with meaning and activity with accomplishment. When we see the critical mass of job hunters using job boards and responding to adverts by blindly sending in their CVs, we think that is what we have to do because everyone else is doing it; we assume it to be correct. We don’t even know if they have the success they are looking for or not; we just follow their activity anyway. As a job hunter, you need to break the circle you are in: stop following the crowd and go directly to the right job opportunity. It is there, but you are not looking in the right direction because you are more interested in following the activity of the other job hunters.