Vampire Bats

Anything that carries a name Vampire cannot be good. That was my thinking when I was first introduced to vampire bats in the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (http://www.stri.si.edu/). Besides the name that does not bring any positive association, it felt eerie walking into the research tent stained with blood here and there. It was dark, damp, hot, tiny, crowded and bloody. It can’t get any worse.

Scientist Jerry Carter explained that vampire bats need to have a blood meal every 24 hours or they will die. Bats will share a blood meal with their associates, knowing that their friends will also share with them during times of need.

He carefully mapped out their relationship, family connection and non-family connection and male and female. Parents always feed their young ones. Spouses feed each other. Beyond family members, female bats usually initiate feeding of non-family members in need. Then, in times of need, this is reciprocated. Soon enough, through this help given in times of need, the sophisticated social network is built and all the bats in the group have a higher chance of survival.

How ironic is it that vampire bats have figured out the importance of a social network and reciprocation of goodwill! We humans should learn from them and offer help first before being helped.

We often confuse the number of people we know as our social network. The real social network is people who will help you in times of need. This kind of social network is built when you lend a helping hand first. The challenge of being successful and rich is, it is hard to differentiate which is your illusion network and which is your true network.