The lifestyle of a lobster has never particularly interested me, apart from wondering how it ends up on my plate. But here’s what I found out during the Christmas break:
Like the rest of us, lobsters are born small and grow bigger throughout their lives. However, their shell doesn’t grow with them. The poor old lobster has to shed its carapace so that it can make another.
Can you imagine the effort involved in taking off its armour? And how vulnerable the creature is when it’s naked? Out of modesty, but primarily to protect itself, the lobster hides under a rock, painfully removes its shell and then waits patiently for the new one to grow before emerging clad in its brand-new, and bigger, costume.
Now imagine our lobster is a man who has no desire to suffer or be exposed to danger. He would go to the doctor’s to ask for pain relief … And he would stay small and uncomfortable in clothes that no longer fit him properly.
When I heard this story, I couldn’t help thinking about all those people who avoid any kind of conflict, quarrels or upheavals. What if we actually need these things to be able to move forward in life?
What upheaval do you need to go through before you can move on with your life?
Last summer we took our son to get him set up in Montreal where he was starting university. As we didn’t know the city we randomly booked our accommodation in a residential neighbourhood called Outremont. We explored the area on foot and tried out the local cafés and bars. We had a good feeling about it.
After that, we moved to another neighbourhood to be closer to some friends of ours and I never quite warmed to it as much as the first one.
It’s the same when I first go to a new seaside resort or a café in Paris. The first table I sit at to have a cup of coffee will always be “special” for me because it’s the place where I dropped my virtual anchor.
The same goes for life coaching or psychoanalysis situations. The way we first discover, experience or perceive a particular event becomes our anchor for the future. If the first time I fall in water, it is cold, that experience is anchored within me. The next time, I’m not likely to jump in quite so wholeheartedly!
What about you in 2017? Have you reached a stage in life with certain experiences and behaviour that call for weighing anchor and casting it in more distant waters that, although uncharted, are perhaps less turbulent?
Happy new year.
A man was travelling across a mountain. He came to a great rock blocking his path. There was no way around it.
After trying in vain to move the rock, he sat down with a heavy heart and said to himself: what will happen to me when night falls, no food, no shelter, no defence, at the hour when ferocious beasts come in search of prey?
Another traveller came along but was no more capable of moving the rock. Several others soon arrived but no one could move the rock and they were greatly fearful.
One of them addressed the group: my brethren, that which none of us can do alone, who knows if we may not do it together? They rose and together they pushed the rock. The rock gave way and they all continued their travels in peace.
The traveller is man, the journey is life and the rock is the obstacles that we encounter during our life. No man alone could heave this rock; but life finds the correct balance so that those who travel together are never stopped.
For the festive season, this time of love and togetherness, I wish you a very happy Christmas surrounded by all the people who are travelling the road of life alongside you.
Serendipity is one of my favourite words. It is an English term that only entered the French language in 2012, and it is usually taken to mean “fortunate happenstance”.
When you Google it, serendipity is defined as “making an unexpected scientific discovery or technical invention as the consequence of a fortuitous coincidence, quite often when undertaking research on another subject”.
Serendipity is “finding something other than that which you were looking for”, like Christopher Columbus who was looking for the Western route to the Indies and discovered a hitherto unknown continent. Other examples of discoveries and inventions that came about by happenstance include penicillin, Post-its and Teflon.
The secret behind serendipity is keeping an open mind about “different” discoveries. Imagine if Fleming had discarded his discovery because he hadn’t been looking for penicillin.
What about you? Do you see the unexpected as a mistake or as an opportunity?
Much ink has been spilt over the story of the SNCF (French national railway company) and its trains that were too wide for railway stations. But what struck me most of all about this story wasn’t the mistakes made at management level, but the SNCF’s statement: “no one is responsible”.
Denying responsibility has become rather fashionable lately.
These days if I fall off my bike because the pavement is uneven, I accuse the local council of negligence. If a child does something stupid in the playground, the supervisors are often called into question.
On the other hand, when an employee at an after-sales service counter deals with our problem as if it were his/her own company, we are surprised and delighted. We praise his/her commitment and the responsibility he/she is prepared to take for the problem.
What if we modelled ourselves on this employee, instead of blaming some authority or other?
Taking responsibility for something is first and foremost about being honest. I don’t lose face if I admit that I’ve failed, made a mistake or got something completely wrong.
What about you? Are you capable of being honest with yourself and taking responsibility for things?