The Lesson of the Butterfly

In his story, The Lesson of the Butterfly, Paulo Coelho reminds great leaders of the importance and value of struggle in their growth and development.

A man spent hours watching a butterfly struggling to emerge from its cocoon. It managed to make a small hole, but its body was too large to get through it. After a long struggle, it appeared to be exhausted and remained absolutely still. The man decided to help the butterfly and, with a pair of scissors, he cut open the cocoon thus releasing the butterfly. However, the butterfly’s body was very small and wrinkled and its wings were all crumpled.

The man continued to watch, hoping that, at any moment, the butterfly would open its wings and fly away. Nothing happened. In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its brief life dragging around its shrunken body and shriveled wings, incapable of flight. What the man, out of kindness and his eagerness to help, had failed to understand was that the tight cocoon and the efforts that the butterfly had to make in order to squeeze out of that tiny hole were Nature’s way of training the butterfly and of strengthening its wings.

It is the experience of struggle and hardships in which great leaders develop strength and fortitude to address the challenges and surprises of life’s beautiful journey. It is their learning about the joy and satisfaction achieved by never giving up or giving in. As Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote: “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths.” May the depths of your magnificent struggles be understood and treasured from the heights of the mountain tops your magnificent journey will take you.

Have a beautiful day and a magnificent week!!!

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2 Responses to The Lesson of the Butterfly

  1. Greg Licciardi says:

    Great story and so true!

  2. Jack Beach says:

    It is not only “the experience of struggle and hardships in which great leaders develop strength and fortitude to address the challenges and surprises of life’s beautiful journey;” these great leaders also inspire their people not just by identifying the gains a mission offers but the challenge it requires. They invigorate their people to dig deep within themselves to see whether “they have what it takes” and offer the chance to see if they “measure up” to the tasks at hand.

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