-- Chapter from It's Not As Tough As You Think -- Growth Is Not Painless Chapter from It's Not As Tough As You Think -- Growth Is Not Painless
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  Chapter 45 from
It's Not As Tough As You Think
How to smooth out life's bumps.

By Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski 

Other Available Chapters
2  3  14  32  47  75  79  92 

Growth Is Not Painless

Human beings should not be stagnant. Animals can grow only in mass, and when they reach their maximum size, there is no further growth. People, however, have a spiritual component which can continue to grow long after physical growth has come to an end.

Spiritual growth and self-improvement invariably require our making some changes in our behavior, and these changes are rarely easy. Some changes constitute major challenges, and we may be frightened off by the discomfort in instituting them. Here is where the story about lobsters is helpful.

Have you ever thought about how a lobster can grow, since it is confined within a rigid shell? The answer is that when a lobster grows inside its shell, it eventually feels confined and compressed, and the discomfort causes it to shed its shell and grow a new and more spacious one. This process is repeated until the lobster reaches its maximum size. Although the shedding of the shell may be accomplished in the crevices of underwater rocks, the naked lobster is nevertheless vulnerable to being eaten by a predatory fish. In other words, the lobster must risk its life in order to grow.

The stimulus for the lobster to shed its confining shell and to grow is the feeling of discomfort at being compressed. This is also true of human beings for whom, too, the feeling of uneasiness may be nature’s way of telling them, “It’s time for you to grow.”

Unfortunately, many people do not interpret this signal correctly, and instead of making the necessary effort to grow, they try to find some way to relieve their discomfort. Some turn to alcohol, others to tranquilizers, and yet others to some escapist technique. The tragedy is that they ignore or suppress the stimulus for growth.

As noted, growth may require some changes that are difficult to make. But remember, the lobster has to risk its very life in order to grow. People do not have to jeopardize their very lives, but must learn to tolerate the discomfort involved in growth.

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