This piece explores the role that struggle plays in leading a fulfilling life.
I failed my way to success
Have you ever observed the beautiful monarch butterfly’s dogged attempts to extricate itself from its cocoon and had the almost irresistible urge to help it get out? Entomologists have found that human intervention in this agonizingly slow process almost always results in the death of the butterfly shortly thereafter. Similarly, hydroelectric damming has diminished salmon populations by interfering with the specie’s breeding cycle which involves salmon swimming up-stream to lay their eggs in the headwaters of the very streams in which they were hatched.
In nature, struggle is the natural order and interference with that process jeopardizes life. Are we humans any different than the butterfly or the salmon because we possess intelligence and have found ways to make life easier? Under present child raising guidelines, some parents seem to believe that making life better for their children means raising them in a hermetically sealed bubble sheltered from failure and disappointment.
Perhaps the real impediment to a fulfilling journey through life for many of us is not a lack of purpose, skills and opportunities but our unwillingness to accept the pain and frustration that often precedes great achievement. Because our conditioning may be to avoid discomfort at any cost, we waste precious time building our cocoons to shield us from unseen threats. This interference with the natural balance disrupts our journey and assures an unfulfilled life experience.
As we contemplate where we have been, what has been accomplished and what more is left to do on the road ahead, endure the pain if the goal is worth attaining; welcome failure as it brings you closer to your goal and embrace adversity as it will make you stronger. The common thread that links all creatures is the will to survive and the characteristic that best measures our worthiness for the gift of life is struggle.