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Why every new venture is like a butterfly. (Why startups need the struggle.)


Recently, I was sharing the history of my business, CheckinLine, with Anthill founder James Tuckerman.

As we talked about typical startup struggles, I was reminded of the following story on that very topic.

James pressed me to share it. So, here goes.

Let me know if you think it rings true.

“THE STORY OF THE BUTTERFLY” (original author unknown)

A man saw a butterfly in a cocoon.

The butterfly struggled for a while, trying to get out of the cocoon.

Overcome with compassion, the man wanted to help the butterfly and, so, he took a little knife and opened the cocoon.

The butterfly emerged, tried to move around and open its wings. This went on for hours. Then, the butterfly died.

Here is what the man in his kindness did not understand: the struggle required by the butterfly to get through the opening was nature’s way of forcing the fluid from the body into the wings so that it would be ready for flight once that was achieved.

Sometimes struggles are exactly what a new venture needs. Growing a venture with no obstacles would cripple it. It will not be as strong as it could have been and would never fly.

It’s often the struggles that get forgotten when success comes along. But it’s the struggles that made success possible.

This story originally appeared on the NeoCogs blog.