How to Derive Energy from Adversity and Triumph.: Look to nature for inspiration.

John Cousins
February 7, 2023
2 min read
Photo by Drew Farwell on Unsplash

There is nothing in the caterpillar that indicates it will become a butterfly. A butterfly is a caterpillar that refused to abandon its dreams of flying.

A Bumblebee defies the laws of physics every time it flaps its bee wings and climbs into the sky.

What about us?

Our daily struggles tend to wear us down until we shelve our dreams as unrealistic and impractical. Instead of letting the bastards wear us down, how can we gain energy and tenacity from the struggles we face?

Salmon live their lives in a struggle against the current. People have forgotten what salmon know.

Salmon swim up waterfalls and seem to defy gravity. How do they do it?

Salmon instinctively turn their bodies into the powerful current coming at them. The impact of the water launches them out and further up the waterfall.

They repeat this move over and over on their way up the waterfall. They lean into their watery obstacle and bounce their way up.

Like anything we don’t fully comprehend, it seems magical. The fish are flying.

Contemplating their constant striving reveals wisdom for those who seek to thrive.

Similarly, the mountain runners of Crete use their fascia, the sheet of connective tissue beneath the skin that attaches and separates our muscles, to spring effortlessly across steep mountain paths.

Some fish love to swim upstream, and some people similarly embrace the challenge.

Both these fish and runners are genuinely at one with their environment. They embrace what looks, from the outside, like obstacles and struggles. It propels them toward their goal.

Salmon face the current coming at them. The physics of their courage enables them to move through life and to their destination. They leverage the power of the rapids.

We can learn from this vision of pure activity. We must find ways to leverage the forces that hit us squarely in our daily journeys.

Hemingway called it “grace under pressure.” Pressure creates diamonds.

The salmon offer an example of how to face life’s struggles without shutting down. They show us how leaning into our experience, though we might not like the frontal assault, moves us on.

Grace under pressure.

The martial art of Aikido teaches how to use the energy of life rather than resist it.

Though our instinct is to turn away, it is our willingness to be vulnerable and engage with what we fear, which enables us to experience success and grace.

Embrace your struggle. The avoidance of struggle is a struggle.

Remember the salmon, butterfly, and bumblebee and derive energy from adversity and emerge triumphantly.

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John Cousins
Author, Entrepreneur, & Teacher

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