As the lobster grows, it must periodically change its shell.
In the above viral video, Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski explains that a lobster is a soft animal that lives inside of a rigid shell, which does not expand. As the lobster grows, its shell becomes increasingly confining and the lobster starts to feel pressured and uncomfortable. It goes under a rock to hide from predators, casts off its shell, and re-emerges with a new one. Eventually, that shell also becomes uncomfortable and it must be shed yet again for a new shell and so on.
The important thing to note, says Twerski, is “the stimulus for the lobster to be able to grow is that it feels uncomfortable.”
Growth isn’t supposed to be painless. You’ve heard: ‘No pain, no gain.’ Cliche, but true. Unless we push ourselves beyond our comfort zones, we cannot grow. Success does not come to those who spend all of their time trying to avoid pain and pursuing pleasure. Those who live their lives trying to avoid all risks, failures, and setbacks do not grow. Like the lobster, we have to realize that times of stress when we feel most uncomfortable are also great opportunities for growth. As one of my business mentors has taught me, it’s often the difficult times and the challenges that enable us to become better people and propel us to greater heights.
So, let’s embrace challenges. Take some risks. Get a little uncomfortable. Sometimes we need to shed the very things we hide behind, even if it makes us temporarily vulnerable in order to re-emerge stronger than before.