Life gives us many stories that teach us – if we pay attention. Here is one that can completely change the way you look at struggles.
When I was new to farming, we wanted to grow our own turkey for Thanksgiving. So we incubating some turkey eggs. After a long wait, everyone was so excited to hear the peeping of little voices. One little baby was struggling to get out. All his brothers and sisters seemed to have an easy time of it. His little eye and a bit of wing poked out, but he didn’t seem to be making much progress… and so we helped him. We chipped away at the shell making it easier.
Still he struggled. He just couldn’t free himself. We were afraid he’d die if left too long, so we popped him right out of the shell. That poor thing flopped around unable to get to his feet. We thought he just needed a bit of time to develop strong muscles. No, he always had crooked toes and poor leg strength because struggling to free himself from his shell was part of his growth process. Because he didn’t do it himself, he never developed normally.
This is true of other creatures too. New butterflies must struggle to get out of their cocoons. When they struggle through the tiny opening of the cocoon, that process pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. If that doesn’t happen, the butterfly would never, ever fly.
I hear about people’s struggles every day. It’s common for people to wish that they’d just go away. Maybe they pray them away. Maybe they want to win the lottery. Or maybe they are hoping that Prince Charming will swoop in on his white horse and make it all better. Whatever the dream, it always involves something or someone making it all go away.
Struggles make you stronger. They give you skills you need to keep going, jump hurdles, and succeed. Struggles create mental toughness and build self-esteem. When you do something, and do it well, you start to know that success is possible. That knowing can mean the difference between living a satisfying life and cowering in fear all the time.
If you are tempted to wait for something or someone to save you, I ask you to consider the chick and the butterfly.
If you are tempted to help someone who seems to be too weak to do it on their own, I ask you to consider the chick and the butterfly.
I also invite you to change the way you look at struggles. They aren’t there to defeat you. They are there to help you lift yourself up and become far more than you are right now. Accept the challenge. You can do it!