What Amazon tribes can teach us about focus

Amazon tribe out hunting. Photo by National Geographic
Amazon tribe out hunting. Photo by National Geographic

There is a story going around that researchers went to the Amazon forest to observe different tribes to learn from their different hunting techniques. Idea was to watch different tribes that had not been in contact with each other, in different parts of the Amazon rain forest to see how they would hunt, how they would cooperate and which approach to hunting would be most successful. Today, more than 8 years after first hearing about the story, I still have not been able to verify the source, but it is just too good not to share with you. So here’s to what we can learn from Amazon tribes and their hunting methods.

Amazon tribe out hunting. Photo by National Geographic

The researchers would find a wide variety in approaches. They would observe the different approaches, track the amount of food hunted and account for differences in vegetation and other circumstances – all over a longer period of time.

Some tribes would sit around and discuss. Others would scatter around while hunting. Some tribes would have hunters hunt by their own. Others would hunt in team. Others in small groups. Others would not have any structure at all. Some would bicker for hours. Others would have a supreme leader give orders.

And then there was the most successful tribe.

The whole tribe would gather around an open campfire. In a simple ritual, the leader of the tribe would throw small spattered bones (of chickens or birds) into the fire. The sparks that would fly off the bones would lead the way. No questions asked. The whole tribe would gather up and start hunting as a group, in that direction.

It did not make any sense to the researchers at first – how could sparks from a campfire make the difference. Untill they dug below the surface of the ritual – below the surface was a very collaborative and simple approach.

The key take-away from the researchers was that it didn’t matter too much which direction the tribe would go if … they would go together as a team, without hesitation and questioning.

So, the next time you’re looking for direction and focus, it does not matter too much which direction you, as long as you go together.

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