The Honey Badger – a hideously ugly, mean, and tough wolverine-like animal – gained fame and notoriety back in 2011 with a viral YouTube video. Narrated by a snarky commentator named Randall, the video called “The Crazy Nasty A** Honey Badger” has now been viewed over 88 million times. Hilarious and share-worthy, you’ve probably already seen it at least once.
While Randall’s depiction is quite humorous, there’s nothing funny about the creature itself. The Honey Badger holds the Guinness Book of World Records title of “World’s Most Fearless Creature” and is considered one of the fiercest animals on the planet.
As someone who’s been a tech company founder and startup leader/investor for nearly three decades, I study a different type of creature in the wild: the passionate and driven entrepreneur. These ferocious beasts come in many shapes and sizes, with some reaching the top of the food chain and others falling victim to their foes. Ironically, there’s a connection between the most successful startup leaders and that old nasty Honey Badger.
By embracing these five Honey Badger characteristics, we can achieve more in all areas of business and life:
1. Fearless. The Honey Badger is known for attacking enemies with far greater size and strength. It compartmentalizes fear, summoning the courage to tackle great danger in order to take home the victory.
2. Thick Skinned. The YouTube video depicts cobra bites, bee stings, attacks by clawed jungle animals, and unbearable natural conditions. Yet the Honey Badger has managed to build up its defenses and mental toughness to withstand nearly any onslaught and emerge unscathed.
3. Resourceful. One of the only wild animals that use tools, the Honey Badgers boosts productivity and results by leveraging technology to achieve more. Always on the hunt for improved ways of winning, this strange animal never rests on its laurels.
4. Unwavering. Set on a fulfilling meal or protecting its family, there is just no stopping the Honey Badger. The creature displays the grit, determination, and tenacity of a street fighter.
5. Ferocious. Larger animals that are far up the food chain still respect and avoid the seemingly lesser opponent. It has built a reputation of do-whatever-it-takes-to-win that staves off threats and helps secure victories.
While it certainly won’t replace the family dog (the Honey Badger would probably eat poor Fido), there’s much to learn from this curious creature. Whether you’re building a startup, climbing the corporate ladder, seeking competitive advantage, or rebuilding your community, the Honey Badger mindset can help you achieve remarkable outcomes.
There’s a time and place to be delicate and diplomatic. But in our day-to-day struggles, a little Honey Badger ferocity can go a long way. While this aggressive approach may be squeamish, there will be nothing ‘nasty’ about your results.