There are three thousand species of snakes in this world. But there are two types of snakes that caught my attention recently.

Texas Coral Snake and the Mexican Milk Snake …. The reason why I found it very fascinating is that they both look exactly alike. They are biologically, naturally designed to look exactly alike.

But there is one big difference…

Texas Coral Snake is venomous, dangerous, killing you in less than a minute

Mexican Milk Snake on the other hand – can’t do anything – it’s an imposter!

Why do they look alike?

To get the answer, we will need to understand Batesian Mimicry first.

In the 1850s, Henry Bates found a certain set of butterflies who were clearly not of the same species but whose wings looked almost the same. Bates eventually figured what was going on. The butterflies which were toxic to potential predators were able to roam freely; but there was this another set of butterflies – which pretended to be the toxic one – in order to survive in the food chain. These “look alike” butterflies looked like the toxic ones – but the resemblance was limited to how they look.

Similarly, Mexican milk snake naturally, decided to look like the Texas coral snake – so predators will stay away from it. And it can survive in the harsh environment.

This to me is as logical and as relevant it can get to the world that we live in.

Many of us get taken in by the pretences or worse still we pretend when we actually are not. Copycats or pretenders to the throne are often very convincing. They dress the part, they talk the talk and they know what buttons to push. But they are never as effective as the real champions. Just like milk snake can never be as dangerous as the coral snake.

In fact, it seems almost a law of nature that success will be copied.

But the question that we might want to ask ourselves is – who can best tell the difference between coral snake and Mexican milk snake. Certainly not the amateurs.

To be playing pretence is a natural survival instinct even in humans. But the people who pretend are rarely successful and successful people rarely pretend.

All of us want to build our knowledge, be successful – but very few of us know how to do it. It’s easier to go home, turn on the TV, watch a show till dinner and sleep and repeat the same day after day. Or, you can invest in yourself and get better every day.

Texas coral snake or Mexican milk snake – the choice is ours to make.

While many of us will read this post and conveniently forget it, the smart ones amongst us – I am sure will ask us “how”. There are proven techniques to learn in order to be the real champion and the strong leader.

We have helped over 150,000 professionals become real champions. Over 200 organizations trust us to help them assess true potential in candidates and employees.

Write to us – to know more about our assessment & development programs – executive coaching, leadership development and more.

Like Charles Munger said – ” Get to bed smarter than when you woke up!”

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