"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."
- Anais Nin
The other day I had the opportunity to eat one of my favourite foods in the Big Apple: lobster.
As I sat at the restaurant, I got curious about the food I was eating.
I learned a few things about the lobster that day. I'm not sure how many people realize how mushy and soft of a creature the lobster actually is. The actual lobster – the part we enjoy so much – resides in a hard, hollow shell. This shell protects the lobster from predators who might attack its otherwise soft flesh.
Its shell is meant to be protective. But what happens is if the lobster grows, the shell doesn't exactly grow with it. In fact, the lobster has to go behind a rock and shed its shell in order to grow into a new one.
Well, because a shell has now become uncomfortable. It no longer fits. The shell now pierces the lobster and becomes a source of pain and discomfort. It has to shed its current shell in order to grow a new one. Then, and only then, can it leave the rock and continue on living out its days on the ocean's floor.
That’s when it hit me: often in life, we try to make due with our discomfort. In fact, a lot of us condone discomfort in our lives. A select few of us being so accustomed to it that we reach the point where we enjoy it. It becomes our norm. We think we’ve reached our glass ceiling. We assume that that’s how much we’ll ever grow. We believe we’ve reached our peak.
It’s easy to give up on further growth once we’ve plateaued, especially when we know that growing involves pain.
But, like the lobster, our story doesn't end there. We human beings have a tendency to grow continuously, inevitably becoming uncomfortable again.
As we more clearly become ourselves and walk into our destiny, the things that once held us down now seem to hold us back. We have to outgrow certain relationships, mentalities, habits and mannerisms in order to adopt new ones.
In essence, we shed and shed again.
It hit me that the lobster didn't look for a way to take away the pain of growth. In fact, it recognized the pain as growth. It did what was necessary to shed its old self in order to move into its new one.
Imagine now if, in the sea world, lobsters relied on doctors and medicine like we humans do. Imagine if, every time they felt pain, they popped a pill or drank liquid medicine. Would it ever be able to move beyond its comfort zone? Would its growth ever be accommodated?
The answer is no.
What about you? Are you able to move along with growth? Are you ready to grow? Do you allow yourself to go through uncomfortable times? The times that try and test your patience? We don't always like to acknowledge the fact that if we want to be taken to another level of growth, mature in any capacity, or get closer to our goals, we've got to get familiar with the idea of being a little bit comfortable.
So shed that old skin. Get that new shell and continue to move forward.
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