If you’ve seen any of my old demos, or seen some of the examples from ebook, you might have noticed that I rather like using images of butterflies as my demo image content.
That may be partially why this article from 2004 recently caught my eye, but the expression of why struggle, albeit in the case of a butterfly, is an unavoidable and in some cases necessary.
(the page where I read this article is full of broken images, so placing a copy of the text here, in case it vanishes altogether)
How to make sure the butterfly cannot fly
How do you get a butterfly?
First there is the egg which hatches into a caterpillar. The caterpillar eats and grows. At the right time, it makes a cocoon out of its own body. While in the cocoon, the caterpillar changes into a butterfly.
When the butterfly is ready, it starts to break through the cocoon. First a hole appears. Then the butterfly struggles to come out through the hole. This can take a few hours.
If you try to “help” the butterfly by cutting the cocoon, the butterfly will come out easily but it will never fly. Your “help” has destroyed the butterfly.
The butterfly can fly because it has to struggle to come out. The pushing forces lots of enzymes from the body to the wing tips. This strengthens the muscles, and reduces the body weight. In this way, the butterfly will be able to fly the moment it comes out of the cocoon. Otherwise it will simply fall to the ground, crawl around with a swollen body and shrunken wings, and soon die.
If the butterfly is not left to struggle to come out of the cocoon, it will never fly.
We can learn an important lesson from the butterfly.
If we do not have struggles and challenges in our work, we will never grow strong and capable. If life has no difficulties, we will become weak and helpless.
Lim Siong Guan Head, Civil Service
As a parent, it certainly leads me to ponder where to draw the boundaries for the struggles I allow, or even enable, by avoiding stepping in when I could otherwise help my children.
As an individual… while I have enjoyed some successes, I feel a noticable frustration that I haven’t achieved close to the available potential… and am finding some solice, and useful energy from the perspecitve, that the struggles along the way, will turn out to have been necessary for me to take flight.