The main idea behind complex systems is that the ensemble behaves in way not predicted by the components. The interactions matter more than the nature of the units. Studying individual ants will never (one can safely say never for most such situations), never give us an idea on how the ant colony operates. For that, one needs to understand an ant colony as an ant colony, no less, no more, not a collection of ants. This is called an “emergent” property of the whole, by which parts and whole differ because what matters is the interactions between such parts. And interactions can obey very simple rules. The rule we discuss in this chapter is the minority rule.
So to summarise it all. Listen to what elder people tell you. Listen and use the advice they give you, but do also question it. Take a deeper look and analyse everything, try things out, fail… oh my god fail a lot and learn from it. And after you learn apply what you’ve learnt to the same problem. You can’t take things for granted.