Dear MPT South Employees,
Below are stories that I read about agility, particularly on resilience. I hope it will be helpful in your work and in life.
This is the first story…..
A lesson from Aesop’s Fables: The Oak and the Reeds
An oak and a reed were arguing about their strength.
“How have you reeds, so frail, survived, when I, so strong, have been felled?” asked the oak tree.
“You were stubborn and wouldn’t bend,” replied the reeds, “whereas we yield and allow the gale to pass harmlessly by.”
When a strong wind came up, the reed avoided being uprooted by bending and leaning with the gusts of wind. But the oak stood firm and was torn up by the roots.
This Aesop story reminds us to be flexible in order to remain strong and resilient. It requires the ability to maintain a balance between stability and change.
Picture a skier going down a hillside, maintaining stability while bending back and forth to meet the challenge presented by uneven terrain. If the skier stiffens up and doesn’t bend, disaster is likely to strike. Like the skier, Aesop’s reed didn’t give in entirely; it kept its roots planted.
In life, it is the routines and traditions which keep us grounded. Even seemingly small routines can increase our ability to handle a new challenge. As much as possible, continue your usual patterns of functioning. Are you doing those daily/weekly routines that keep you grounded? Bend when you need to in order to handle a new situation. Don’t resist change so much that it causes you to stiffen up and fall.
Reference: Walsh, Froma, Strengthening Family Resilience, New York: The Guilford
This is another story ……
Evolving into Agility: The Butterfly Story
One day, a man found a cocoon of a butterfly. At some time a small opening appeared on the cocoon. He watched the butterfly for several hours. It was struggling to force its body through that tiny hole. The butterfly seemed to stop making any progress after a while. It appeared it had done the best it can and could go no further.
Deciding to help the butterfly, the man took a pair of scissors and cut open the remaining part of the cocoon. The butterfly emerged easily. It had a swollen body and small wings. He continued to watch the butterfly, expecting that eventually the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.
Nothing like that happened. On the contrary, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It never managed to fly.
The man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were life’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings. That gave the wings the strength to be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon.
The struggles are a part of our journey and prepare us for what awaits. They prepare us to fly.
A lot of what is most beautiful about the world arises from struggle. -Malcolm Gladwell
The struggle is part of the learning. It is part of the natural cycle of evolution – of building that capacity. This capacity cannot be installed. It is as true for organizations as it is true for natural systems.
In our work, we often encounter challenges and obstacles. Resilience is key.
Never give up when facing hindrances and difficulties. Bend like the reed or the skier, and in the end you will fly like a butterfly after withering the adversities.
ESTELITA A. FRANCISCO