Two caterpillars lived in a tree. Both spend their days eating and enjoying life.
When time passed by, one of them felt the pointlessness of it all. Fed up by the monotonous life she went into a deep meditation.
When she woke up, she felt bound by something. While she struggled hard to get out it, the other caterpillar laughed at her. He ridiculed her for leaving a great life and now wiggling to get out of self-created misery.
After what seemed like an eternity of painful struggle she came out of the confinement. The caterpillar saw to his amazement that she had two beautiful wings. She had become a colorful butterfly.
Slowly she batted her wings and flew off into the infinite sky.
As a parent, what is it that you want for your child? You want her to get good grades in school, conquer milestones one by one, and keep achieving great things in life, isn’t it? In other words, you want her to grow.
If so, why don’t you aspire for it for yourself? Indeed you are not a child. But growth does not stop in childhood. Rather, it is just the beginning of a lifelong process.
No. We are not chanting the corporate slogan of ‘be productive and achieve more’. Growth here does not mean career growth. Here it is used in a more holistic sense. Maybe it can help you with your job, but that is not the ultimate goal.
The emphasis here is to try and shift the mindset. Rather than suffocating ourselves in the drudgery of chores, year after year, decade after decade, we have to plan to grow.
Misconceptions and obstacles
The terms learning and growing, makes people think of academic studies. They assume it has to do with attending a prestigious university, getting a fanciful degree and so on. But the real learning, as academics agree, takes place outside the premises of a university campus.
“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education”
Indeed, education is not something that you can buy with money. Apart from providing the right circumstances and guidance, no professor or university for that matter can impart wisdom in you. You have to tread the path of knowledge on your own. No one will carry your weight.
A person with a growth mindset keeps learning and perfecting himself throughout his life. He opens himself to new experiences and novel ideas. Thus achieving emotional maturity and intellectual and spiritual growth.
Why should we grow?
The world is taking fast strides forward in all respects. Those who refuse to grow with it will subsequently become redundant. They will be replaced in their jobs, ostracized from society and will be outclassed in everything.
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.”
— Henry Ford
Moreover, a life without continuous growth becomes stagnant. We tend to cling on to blind political and religious ideologies. Thus making ourselves prone to manipulation by ostentatious people.
Thus without constant growth, we become very vulnerable.
A painful process
Growth is undoubtedly a painful process. Most people avoid learning because they cannot stand the pain. Like the male caterpillar, they would rather stay happily ignorant.
But Ignorance is bliss only until we fall into inescapable pits.
Like the butterfly struggling to get out of its cocoon, we have to labor to grow. In fact, it is the struggle that strengthens its wings to fly. Likewise, the hardships are the price for perfection.
“The key to pursuing excellence is to embrace an organic, long-term learning process, and not to live in a shell of static, safe mediocrity. Usually, growth comes at the expense of previous comfort or safety.”
When it comes to breaking out of blind beliefs, it takes courage. The uncertainty that follows the break out is quite difficult to live with. It is like getting out of prison after a long sentence. The freedom is difficult to handle.
But the avoiding pain and uncertainty cause unanticipated problems. Pain is an integral part of life.
A slow process
Another factor that makes growth unattractive is that it is a time-consuming process. It is hence a great commitment if one decides to learn a new thing. For the lack of perseverance, people drop off midway.
Maybe the drudgery is the part of the seasoning required to achieve growth. There is no short cut, no crash course, no formula that can make the process any faster. One has to keep one’s spirits up and keep going through the seemingly endless path.
But imagine the time taken by a seed to germinate and become a tree. It takes years or even decades until it achieves its girth. The same is with any kind of growth. Whatever flourishes like a mushroom, perishes like the same.
Growth can be fun
Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream
But this doesn’t mean it is the most tedious process in the world. We surely can make the process much enjoyable if we wish to. Once we know how to grow, it stops being difficult.
Setting immediate goals and achieving them is a great way to have fun. Using the acquired skill in a practical situation adds spice to life. Teaching someone what you have already learned is the most satisfying of all.
If we stop obsessing about the results and enjoy the process, there is no joy greater than growth
Imagine yourself acquiring new skills, extending your boundaries and getting the satisfaction of bettering yourself every day. Wouldn’t it be so much better than circling in the loop of monotonous life?
Like the caterpillar in the story, let us acquire a new perspective and strive to grow. If we can go through the pain period, we will gradually transform ourselves and one day fly towards the ultimate truth.
Aspire for yourself what you aspire for your child.
Thank you for reading. Please post your opinions in the comment box below.