This week, I got to thinking a lot about lobster.
No, not the meal (although who doesn’t love a nice lobster dinner every now and then?) I’m talking about the animal.
Most people don’t know that a lobster sheds its shell roughly 25 times within its first 5-7 years of life. This is the only way that it can grow. Once the older, smaller shell is discarded, it must lie exposed for up to 48 hours as it develops a newer, bigger shell to fit its growing body.
It’s during those 48 hours that the real challenge arises. Anything or anyone could swim right up to it, maybe with a bit of drawn butter, and have a real feast. The lobster is completely vulnerable as it waits to develop its hardened shell.
The lobster is a lot like you and me. Sometimes, we have to suffer through adversity and take a risk in order to grow and become stronger.
Think back to the very first time you ever did a push-up. Remember how impossible it felt to complete one solid, perfect push-up? Now take a look at yourself today. Compare your strength to how it was back then. Look at how much you have improved!
In order to get stronger, you must suffer. You come in to class and get sweaty and sore. Maybe the next morning you feel too tired or too weak to even get out of bed. Believe me, that’s happened to me plenty of times! Only when you fight through this adversity can you begin to grow.
Another example that comes to mind is peer pressure. Perhaps you’ve left school one day to find your friends gathered together, smoking a cigarette. Saying “no” means risking being left out of the group. They may even tease and taunt you. However, by pushing through this difficult time and saying “no” to peer pressure, your body will grow stronger and healthier.
Recently, several students took their Black Belt Test. For every student, Test Day is full of many different types of adversity: students must demonstrate full mastery of all techniques, which they have learned over at least three years of training.
The day is a four-hour-long workout that pushes the body to the max, and many students begin to doubt whether they have conditioned their bodies well enough to handle the rigorous physical challenges. Not only that, but they worry that they may not be able to push their bodies to keep going once they hit their limit.
Despite all of this, the Black Belt Test is a favorite day of the year for Action Karate Plymouth instructors. It is rewarding beyond words to watch each of our students push past physical and mental adversity, challenge their own self-doubt, and find their true source of inner strength. In this moment they are able to push beyond what they ever believed they were capable of. They have shed their old shell and grown up into a stronger, more confident self. What an amazing thing to witness!
The next time you are facing a challenge, think of the lobster. Push through adversity, and you will surprise yourself by how much you have grown when you come out on the other side!