About a week or so ago, I got into a conversation with someone about bats. The conversation started because, during a Zoom call, I noticed that her coffee mug had emblazoned on it a huge bat. Not being the cat or dog I normally see on people’s coffee mugs, I was intrigued and had to ask.
“Your mug is quite cool. Are you a fan of Halloween, or of bats?” I asked.
She laughed.” Not many people notice my mug” Her eyes widened.” I’m a huge fan of bats. In college, I volunteered at a bat rescue.”
Our conversation for the next hour centered around bats. Her wide eyes, animated speaking and overall exuberance drew me in as she spoke of these fascinating creatures. I had never feared bats I thought they were an amazing freak of nature- a fox-looking creature that could fly. However, during this conversation, I learned to appreciate them.
Bats are almost dog-like in their behavior. They greet you at the door when you enter the room. Not to harm you, but to welcome you, to show they are happy to see you.
Bats, like humans, can be shy and intelligent, and they have a social order in which they share information, adopt those that have been orphaned and are generous to those that have previously helped them. They have cuddled and “pet” those that feed them, and take care of them.
Bats understand that you need to work together to achieve success. Female bats join to care for a pregnant female of her young. They utilize the” it takes a village” philosophy” for the betterment of all. If someone tries to come near the young, they will flap and squeak at you, but they do not attack.
Despite their frightful media portrayal, bats are the heroes of the night. Without them, we would not be able to enjoy some of our favorite foods, and farmers would not be able to thrive. Over 300 species of fruit depend on our winged friend to help spread their seeds, including nuts, figs, bananas, agave, avocados, and cacao. Additionally, some bats can ingest their entire body weight in insects each night, and almost 1200 mosquitos per hour – which is key in protecting forests and crops from pests.
Bats value feedback. It is necessary for their survival. They are able to know where they are and what is going on by emitting little ultrasonic screeches that bounce off insects, walls, and more, allowing them to locate food and navigate through the darkness of the night. The feedback they receive from this echolocation detects objects as small as a human hair. The feedback will not only tell them where an object is right now, but where it will end up if it stays in motion. An example was given to me, during my Zoom call to demonstrate just how wonderful the bats are at receiving feedback. During her volunteer time at the bat rescue, while giving educational tours, the instructor would walk into a clear 10 x10 room, allowing the guests to view what was happening. The room would then be filled with flying bats, and not one bat ended up touching the instructor. At first, I was surprised by this, and then I remembered that I had experienced this firsthand many years ago, in a bat cave in Aruba. I crouched down in a tunnel and went to take a picture of a colony of bats hanging just outside of the tunnel. Not realizing the flash was on, I startled the bats awake when I pressed down on the shutter release button. The entire colony flew over me, in less than 12 inches of space above my head, and I was not even touched by a wing.
If bats can survive and thrive on the feedback they receive, then we humans should be able to as well.
As many of you know, I am publishing a book about my story. I am in the revision part of writing my book. This means that I basically spend each and every waking moment receiving feedback and making changes over and over again. I harness the power of feedback to achieve my goal, of producing my best work. I will admit that sometimes it’s hard, but I have learned to sort through the positive feedback and the feedback that does not serve me or my purpose. It will allow me to publish my story with pride and dignity and know what feedback matters.
I have learned to search for feedback that enables me to survive and thrive - and it feels amazing!
Try following the advice of our gentle flying friends, and seek out feedback that enhances the true you. And in the process if you receive some that doesn’t, swerve and avoid it.
PS- Fun Facts:
Bats can be found on almost every part of the planet except for the most extreme deserts and the polar regions.
Bats are not rodents, they are actually more related to primates than to mice.
There are over 1400 species of bats and they can range in size from the size of a penny to having a wing span of up to about 6 feet.
Disease is a bats biggest predator.