Struggle Does Not Mean Bad: Choices and Illusions, Part 3

In Part 1, we took a closer look at the first 6 chapters of Eldon Taylor’s book, Choices and Illusions. There were some great stories about how our thoughts can have an effect on us, even when we don’t think they do. In Part 2, we looked at chapters 7 through 12. In particular, we looked at an important story that emphasized the importance of ‘wait and see’ as a viable option when deciding a course of action. In today’s post, we’ll look at the last 6 chapters of the book.

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Chapter 13 reminds us that we may have limiting belief systems preventing us from achieving what we ‘want.’ For instance, if you want to be successful or prosperous, do you think you’ll get there if you have a belief that people who are prosperous or successful are evil (and you don’t want to be evil)? Taylor also reminds us that we shouldn’t hate our work and discusses the importance of empathy.

In chapter 14, Taylor reassures us that having limiting beliefs doesn’t make you a bad person. In fact, it’s actually quite normal. He goes on to talk about the importance of looking within one’s self to find those limiting beliefs that may no longer be serving you. For instance, when you were younger, you may have developed the belief that speaking in front of people is really scary or that it may cause you harm. If you now work as an analyst for a big company, there’s a good chance that you may have to speak in front of people at some point. As a result, it would probably do you good to have brought this limiting belief to light and then replaced it.

Like with yesterday’s post, there’s a great story from Chapter 16 that I think you’ll enjoy. In fact, it reminds me of the best piece of advice (We’ll See…):

There once was a scientist who beheld the glory of an emperor moth and was so totally taken by the creature that he decided to study it. For more than a year he monitored the activities of the giant moth.

One day he came upon a caterpillar ready to spin its cocoon. He gently captured the caterpillar and took it back to his lab. He watched the caterpillar build its cocoon within a glass container and enter that state of deep sleep. While in the chrysalis it changed its form, from crawling on the ground to floating in the sky.

The day came when the moth was ready to leave the cocoon. The scientist watched anxiously as the tiny head chewed its way into the light of the laboratory. The moth struggled and struggled, seemingly getting nowhere. Its body was simply too large to fit through the tiny hole in the cocoon. The moth tired and laid its head to rest on the shell of the cocoon. The scientist took it upon himself to help the tiny creature. “How could I stand here for so many hours watching this beautiful moth go through such agony and pain?” he questioned. “Where is my mercy?” he continued as he took his tweezers and scissors to cut away the cocoon. The moth fell from the cocoon badly deformed, and soon died.

Later the scientist discovered that it was precisely the cocoon-escaping struggle that pressured the fluids down into the body of the emperor moth and gave it its aerodynamic ability. The cocoon forced the fluids into the body, perfectly proportioning the moth as it pushed its way out. Cutting away the cocoon in an effort to help had only killed the moth.

You may be familiar with a similar story about butterflies and moths, but this is an important story with regard to being okay with things that you may otherwise not be. For instance, some folks couldn’t stand to watch the moth struggle in this case, but if they were to interfere, they’d actually be disrupting the process by which the moth needs to undergo to become a butterfly. This raises all kinds of possible ethical dilemmas when we consider intervening within certain environments or the animal kingdom. To be clear, I’m not necessarily advocating no intervention, but I think it’s important to remember stories like this when we are considering intervening. As Taylor says, “Struggle does not mean bad.”

There’s another great story in Chapter 18 highlighting the possibility that judging could be viewed as a sickness. I’ll let you read that one on your own, though.

(Disclosure: I was given a free copy of the book.)

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If you liked this paper/series, you might want to check out some of the other papers/series I’ve posted.

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