A man found the cocoon of an emperor moth and took it home to watch it emerge. One day a small opening appeared, and for several hours the moth struggled but couldn’t seem to force its body past a certain point.

Deciding something was wrong, the man took scissors and snipped the remaining bit of cocoon. The moth emerged easily . . . its body large and swollen . . . the wings small and shriveled.

He expected that in a few hours the wings would spread out in their natural beauty, but they did not. Instead of developing into a creature free to fly, the moth spent its life dragging around a swollen body and shriveled wings.

The constricting cocoon and the struggle necessary to pass through the tiny opening are nature’s way of forcing fluid from the body into the wings.

The merciful snip was, in reality, cruel in the end. Sometimes the struggle is exactly what we need.

In life, we all do our best to avoid adversity. In fact, we go out of our way to try to plan everything out and control each and every situation—trying to avoid landing in a pothole. However, some of life’s best lessons are learned through the crucible of struggle. Our bodies, our minds, our lives, are all filled with battle scars—it’s what make us . . . us. It’s amazing when we look in the rear view mirror of life to see the events and situations that impacted and shaped us.

We’ve all seen the statement—fail fast and often—that’s how we learn and grow. Struggles or failures can test our stamina and our perseverance, but so often we are better for it. During the job recruiting process, we look for folks who have been through the tests, who have battled and survived. In fact, we value those experiences quite highly.

I hope that the story of the emperor moth will encourage you if you’ve been through difficult times or are in a pothole right now. And if you’re not there now, or have never been, don’t worry—you won’t be left out of some of life’s most valuable experiences.