There Is Power in the Struggle

— Written By Christine Smith and last updated by

Most of us will admit that we are sick and tired of the same old routine that yielded few results yet we’re not ready to make the necessary changes to have success. Why do we continue to travel down the same road that leads no where? What is it that keeps us repeating this defeatist cycle? Could it be that we lack the skills or knowledge to make the change? Or is it that we are waiting for an easy solution to a complicated problem?

Just waiting for the right motivation to lose a few pounds may never come. You must be willing to put forth effort in order to achieve any goal in life. That means you must make a few sacrifices along the way, struggle a little, and maybe even have a setback or two. But if you get up and keep pushing forward, success is waiting for you.

I am sure you have all heard the phrase “life is not always a bed of roses”. Well, life can be so long as you remember that sleeping on a bed of roses also entails rolling over onto a thorn or two. Our challenge is to keep it all into perspective and to realize that it is out of our hardships that we grow and develop most. Here is a story that illustrates my point.

A man found a cocoon of an emperor moth. He took it home so that he could watch the moth come out of the cocoon. One day a small opening appeared, and he sat and watched the moth for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.

The moth seemed to be stuck and appeared to have stopped making progress. It seemed as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther. The man, in his kindness, decided to help the moth; so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The moth then emerged easily. But its body was swollen and small, its wings wrinkled and shriveled.

The man continued to watch the moth because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to and able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened! In fact, the little moth spent the rest of its life crawling around with a small, swollen body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly.

The man in his kindness and haste did not understand that the struggle required for the moth to get through the tiny opening was necessary to force fluid from the body of the moth into its wings so that it would be ready for flight upon achieving its freedom from the cocoon. Freedom and flight would only come after the struggle. By depriving the moth of a struggle, he deprived the moth of health.

Sometimes struggling is exactly what we need in our lives. If we were to go through our lives without any obstacles, we would be crippled. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. Give every opportunity a chance, leave no room for regrets, and don’t forget the power in the struggle.

Thoughts to Ponder

Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle. ~ Napoleon Hill

Always remember that striving and struggle precede success, even in the dictionary. ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

Christine Smith is an Extension Agent in the department of Family & Consumer Sciences with N.C. Cooperative Extension, NCSU, Wayne County. Information on other services available can be found online at or call me at 731-1525 for additional information.

Written By

Photo of Christine SmithChristine SmithExtension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences (919) 731-1525 christine_smith@ncsu.eduWayne County, North Carolina
Posted on Jan 23, 2014
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