THE WEEKLY #150: THE BUTTERFLY PARADOX

Graceful, swift and beautiful, the butterfly flutters effortlessly through the garden. It seemingly has few worries as it inspects one flower before taking off to its next landing pad. As we watch it float majestically, we see freedom, we see it’s beauty and we see grace. Rarely do we look at the butterfly and think about how hard it’s worked to become the beautiful specimen it is today. Why is that? It first had to survive as an egg before becoming a larva then finally making it’s a way through the pupa/chrysalis stage to emerge as the butterfly.

We aren’t all that captivated by the caterpillar. It crawls around and eats holes in all of the leaves. In fact, I could go so far as to say that many of us don’t like caterpillars at all. But without the caterpillar, we wouldn’t have the butterfly we find so damn beautiful. We want the butterfly but not the caterpillar. This is the butterfly paradox.

This week I wanted to talk about something I’ve experienced and have watched others around me struggle with.  It’s the idea that many of us are flawed in our desire to have the freedom and the beauty of the butterfly but are unwilling to be the caterpillar. You see we always reach for the end goal without committing to the dirty work. We always compare our beginning with someone else’s middle. We want the glory but aren’t motivated for the hard yards. We want wings of freedom but are unwilling to spend 20 days trapped inside of our pupa going through a metamorphosis. We aren’t ready to spend 66 days creating a habit. We all see a butterfly and want wings. Now.

Every day I receive an e-mail or a message with people asking ‘How can I have your life?’ It would be the same as me sending a professional basketballer a letter asking him how to get his jump shot. The jump shot is the butterfly. The minimum 20,000 hours of training Lebron James has put into his jumper is one of the ugliest and meanest looking caterpillars you’ll find in the garden. 

Whenever I’ve been asked to give young kids or others advice I’ve always shared the same thing. I don’t focus on telling them to follow their dream or trust their heart. I’ve personally found it hard to know what my path is. I usually share the following idea.

When you have a motivation for a new goal you need to create a new habit in order to reach that goal. If you want the jump shot you start training every day on the jump shot. You need to create a habit and on average it takes 66 days to create a habit. In addition to that 66 days of creating a habit, you will have doubts, emotional insecurities, and distractions. My advice is to stick with anything for a minimum of six months and then come and see me. If you put your heart and soul into something for six months and you didn’t see results that inspire you to continue or you didn’t reach your short-term goal, something is wrong. That’s okay. Not everyone is going to be good at basketball. But if you float from one motivation to the next never being that damn caterpillar day-in and day-out you are never gonna fly like a butterfly. I’m asking you to give the next 6 months of your life to what you are telling me is your dream. Go prove it caterpillar.

The examples can keep flowing all day. Whether it be fitness, career or finances, we overlook the journey, which is always the most important part of the story. Humans want the end product without the work and within many aspects of our lives, we have to a degree, managing to achieve a high level of instant gratification. We can order food instantly, our ice machine in the refrigerator spits out ice cubes, our heating instantly warms the house. Our desires are being met without any work, we are slowly but surely eliminating the caterpillar. 

When we look at communications, our needs are met at an ever more rapid-fire rate. Within a couple of taps on our phone, we can contact anyone in the world via an app. It’s possible to be stuck on a question and in .0127 seconds, according to Google, the answer is delivered on a screen before us. A photographer or an artist can publish a piece of work and very shortly thereafter receive feedback on their work and be notified about how many people like their latest creation.

Some might say, ‘Keep up with the times Jackson.’  

I will reply, ‘Never underestimate the importance of an ugly-as-all-hell caterpillar’.

You see our greatest achievements are always when our relentless effort takes us to a place we knew we were capable of but had to put in the work to get there. We feel most proud, most fulfilled and most alive when our years of hard work amounts to something and it makes us who we are. How we got there MAKES US WHO WE ARE. The caterpillar makes us the butterfly. Without the caterpillar, you can’t fly.

Embrace the moments, the weeks and the years where you are the ugliest, furriest caterpillar in the garden. Make sure not a single leaf goes untouched, bite a hole in them all. Be the best damn caterpillar you can. Because if you can’t thrive as a caterpillar you will never spread your wings like a butterfly. Evolution doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process. Embrace it and be the best damn caterpillar in the garden. 

 

This week I’m in Adelaide. Why? I’m having double hip surgery on a recurring running injury. I’ve been filling the cold days with a barrage of blog posts and catching up with friends and family. You can see lots of Philippines blogs being added especially from Bohol, Coron, and El Nido as I didn’t quite get time to add them all on the fly when I was traveling this year. It’s the 150th weekly and I’m trying to challenge myself by writing by concepts I think about often. I’m not a perfect writer but I’m in my caterpillar phase and I’m okay with that. Writing a weekly with a bit more of a purpose helps me think with more clarity and maybe it will help you or at least give a small insight into my mind. 

I’d love you to leave a comment below and I’ll be replying to them all before the next ‘Weekly’. I hope you had a great week and enter full caterpillar mode from here on out. 

Jackson

 

 
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42 Discussion to this post

  1. Anonymous says:

    You are something else. I’ve always seen vloggers to be superficial, a way for a lot of people to get easy money and a channel for vanity. You are special! Keep it up!

  2. Andrea says:

    You are a beautiful soul. Thank you for sharing your adventures and the amazing pictures!

  3. Katie says:

    Beautifully said! So insightful and inspiring. Just want I needed. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  4. Lauren says:

    This was very insightful and very TRUE!! Thank you for sharing such wise words and thoughts. Enjoyed this read! Hey well soon 🦋

  5. Kar says:

    You are awesome and someone we all look up to!!!
    Keep going and good bless you and good luck for your surgeries!
    L.O.V.E.

  6. Anna says:

    You have found such beautiful words to describe what it means and what we have to do to become a better version of yourself. Thanks för reminding me which way I need go to achieve my goals and dreams. Million thanks for that 💎

  7. Jodi says:

    I wanted to screen shot the first paragraph then the second until i realized i wanted to fit all in one screen as i read through. Such a beautiful and inspiring message Jackson. Continue your journey and be the best and most inspiring caterpillar 🐛 . Have a speedy recovery.

  8. Laura says:

    I really appreciate this post. As a full-time travel blogger myself it’s always so easy to look at someone else’s success and think “I’ll never get there”. But lately, I try not to focus on the things that I haven’t achieved yet but more on the things I can do every day to get there. Self-motivation is not always easy but posts like this give me the right “kick in the butt” to get back on track. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jackson says:

      Hey Laura,

      Yeah it’s a bit of a ‘race’ at times like many jobs, industries but that is a hard mindset to get into and out of.

  9. Virginia says:

    That one hit hard to home. It’s so easy to compare to others middle and end stages when we’re not evening willing to make the first steps ourselves. Lots to digest and think about here!

    Thanks for the Inspiring and relatable words here Jacko!

    Best of luck with the recovery!

  10. Jenny K says:

    Hey Jackson,

    Perfect reflection of right-timing and how to be patient with your process of unfolding.

    I wrote something about flying a kite as a metaphor for gratitude during this process, and think you might like it. Maybe you can read it when you have time. It posted yesterday @vivejenny

    Sending waves of healing light to you now. Hips and all! Ha 😊

    Hugs,
    Jenny K 💙

  11. Saumiya says:

    The analogy so well drives in the point. Its true that today everyone wants to be successful without putting in the hard work. This was inspring and get well soon

  12. Cammee Lee says:

    Love this post! Sending well wishes! Inspiring! 🙏🏼

  13. Garrett says:

    Finding “meaning” means taking responsibility. No responsibility, no meaning. Taking responsibility always means facing struggle. And struggling means growth. Grow into your meaning. It’s the only adventure you can take.

    Great message Jackson. You’re a great thinker and writer.

  14. Jasper says:

    Really inspiring words man! And they are so true, you compare yourself in the beginning with people that have put in years of work to get were they are. You first need to put in those years before you can compare yourself to them.

  15. Rebecca says:

    Nice and true words. It’s always about “what are you willing to invest in your dreams”
    It took me four years to get where I am today and I’m still not where I’m looking forward to arrive. It’s always a balance between investing and enjoying.
    I think that the paradox’s you describe, represents a bit the whole attitude humans have, we see a problem, but we don’t try to solve it we aleays just look for a solution which solves the parts we don’t want faceZ

  16. Sarah says:

    Thank you so much for this 🙌🏽 It’s not often that people are so honest with both themselves and the world around us, especially in the times we are in 💛

  17. Claire Pyper says:

    Love this post Jackson!! I always use the analogy of the butterfly and carterpilar with children!
    We all have a choice in life, to stay with the life of a caterpillar OR to go away and work hard to change, grow and transform into the best version of ourselves – just like the Butterfly did!
    Thanks for the blog and a reminder for us all to work hard at our best life! Wishing you a speedy recovery!
    Much goodness to you 🦋🐛💪🙏😘

  18. Andreea says:

    Reaching that state of mind that allows you to keep pushing yourself through the whole caterpillar phase is a hard challenge. You will always be sidetracked and loose focus on what you want to achieve. Perhaps it’s better when there is somebody next to you, who will push you when you do loose your focus. After all, we are sociable beings. This is why we constantly look for somebody to connect with and this is why we need friends in our lives.
    I do applaud you for your thoughts and strength. I wish you good health, succes in teaching your mind how to behave and above all, love!

  19. Hope you have a great and faster recovery.

  20. Ilse says:

    Beautiful words! Coincidence will that a beautiful butterfly just passes by while Im sitting here behind my laptop in Koh Phangan writing this comment. Working hard in silence isn’t as sexy as the beautiful butterfly, but everything that’s great takes time to evolve. Thanks again for the motivating words legend!! 🙂

  21. Gisele says:

    Love it! Beautiful words, beautiful story and I can only agree to it. Get well soon🍀

  22. Craig Gearhart says:

    I am so grateful for you dude! Thankyou is all I can say. Consistency. That’s the key 🙏 hope your healing is quick. You’re the man Jax!!!

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