Some people associate dinosaurs with children; after all, most of us know at least one dino-crazy seven-year-old. Others associate dinosaurs with something old and outdated. Before I upgraded to a new laptop, I used to joke that my computer was a “dinosaur.” 

Regardless of what comes to mind, dinosaurs were, in fact, among the most amazing and successful animals to ever walk the earth. But how did the dinosaurs survive for so long? Well, here are a few life lessons we can learn from those intriguing animals.

Don’t allow your disadvantages to define you.

When you ask most young dinosaur fans to name their favorite dinosaur, one of (if not the) most popular answer is usually T. rex. That’s not surprising since Tyrannosaurus rex, which was about 40 feet long and weighed up to nine tons, was both very big and very scary. It’s skull alone was about 5 feet long and had over 60 teeth which it used to crunch through bone. As menacing as T. rex was, it had one apparent disadvantage- its small forearms, which at three feet, were tiny in comparison to T. rex’s body. Nevertheless, T. rex did not allow its disadvantage to stop it from going after what it wanted. Instead, the mighty dinosaur used what it did have, including its massive size- and all those bone-crunching teeth- to its advantage. As a result, T. rex was one of the most ferocious creatures to ever live.

Is there something in your life you feel puts you at a disadvantage? Whatever it is, don’t allow it to define you and, by all means, don’t let it hinder you from going after what you want in life. And, like the T. rex, make sure you are using what you DO have to your advantage. 

Appreciate the power of teamwork.

One of the main sources of food for the carnivorous dinosaurs such as the tyrannosaurs and dromaeosaurs (commonly known as “raptors”) was the herbivorous dinosaurs. For example, fossil evidence shows that Deinonychus, which was a 10 foot-long dromaeosaur dined on Tenontosaurus, an herbivore which was over twice as long and weighed at least 10 times as much. So how could a raptor have taken down such a large dinosaur? Some scientists believe they hunted in packs. While no one knows for sure, that theory makes sense. When more than one Deinonychus set their sights on a large but unsuspecting plant-eater, there would have been no stopping them.

If you are facing something that seems impossible to accomplish on your own, think of Deinonychus joining forces with other members of its pack to accomplish a common goal. And don’t be afraid to ask others for assistance. You’ll be surprised how many people want to help you when you are working toward something that is important to them as well. Don’t forget:  there is power in numbers!

Be focused.

Even though T. rex had its size going for it and Deinonychus may have had help from his friends, they could still miss out on a meal if they were not focused. Fortunately, they both had forward-facing eyes, indicating they had binocular vision, which made it easier to focus on their prey. In order to be successful in hunting, they had to both focus on their prey and take action to go after it. 

The same is true with us, when we want something in life, we must focus on it and take action. No, not all your efforts will be fruitful, but in order to build the life you want, you must take action on a consistent basis. If you allow your fear of rejection to keep you from going after your dreams, then they will likely remain just that—dreams.

Keep moving forward.

One of my favorite dinosaurs is the bipedal herbivore Pachycephalosaurus, which had a thick dome shaped-skull surrounded by bony knobs. Scientists have different theories about what the pachy’s thick dome was used for, but I can envision the dinosaur using it to plow forward through whatever got in its way.

Next time you encounter and obstacle, don’t let it throw you off track. Just think of the Pachycephalosaurus as you plow through it and make sure you keep moving forward in a positive direction!

So there you have a few of the dinosaurs’ secrets to success. Although there may be many theories about dinosaur behavior, there’s no doubt they were focused and persistent and powerful. With that winning combination, it’s no surprise those mysterious and magnificent creatures still have something to teach us today.