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Episode 134: Are You A Lobster?

Almost 2000 years ago the man who was to become St Paul wrote that “Suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character”.

Nietzsche put it quite well with his phrase “That which does not kill us makes us stronger”.

And I went into some specifics about that a couple of years ago after a study was published that described the psychological states of students at Northern Illinois University following the valentines day shootings there in 2008.

This process is often referred to as Post Traumatic Growth, the idea that we can grow stronger because of adversity.

But if everyone who has trauma in some way becomes stronger because of it, they why am I still in a job?
Why is it that people develop anxiety or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
What makes one person go one way and another the exact opposite?
According to research the people who due very well following a traumatic event already had a good aptitude for psychological adjustment.

Before the event they usually found the idea of “change” exciting with a “variety is the spice of life attitude”.
And those that were not that good at handling change didn’t do so well. Sounds obvious, but it tells us that if we can all learn how to cope with being uncomfortable, it then makes it easier to cope with being terrified.

But in the modern society when we feel uncomfortable we try our best to stop it, we mask it with medication or alcohol or obsessive compulsions.

We think it’s normal try to hide children from emotional pain or disappointment, and that’s not good!

We need to hurt sometimes, we need to learn how to cope with being let down or disappointed, because when life does pour a bucket of diarrhoea on our heads we need the psychological muscle to handle it.

Let me tell you about lobsters.
Lobsters are soft and vulnerable, easy pickings for a greedy Codfish. So they have developed a hard shell for protection. But the shell is so hard that it isn’t flexible. In order for the lobster to grow it needs to moult. it needs to kick its shell off and grow another one.
In the first 5 years of its life a lobster will moult about 25 times. If it doesn’t moult then it can’t get any bigger. Its stimulus for growth is feeling under pressure, stressed, uncomfortable.
If it had a lobster doctor it would go to it and be told not to worry, it’s perfectly normal.
But if it went to a human doctor it would be given medication to stop it from feeling uncomfortable and would never develop.

We need to be lobsters, we need to learn how to handle being uncomfortable.
Whether that’s by punching and screaming into a pillow or seeing a counsellor and finding a safe way of moving it from in your head to into your past.
It’s important to learn just how strong you actually are.

Episode List

Episode 138: Keeping Up With The Joneses
Episode 137: The Likeable You
Episode 136: Why It's OK To Be A Loser
Episode 135: The Psychology Of Extremism
Episode 134: Are You A Lobster?
Episode 133: Critical Thinking
Episode 132: There Is Nothing Either Good Or Bad
Episode 131: The For And Against Of Imagination
Episode 130: Loneliness & Social Networks
Episode 129: Letting Go Of The Past
Episode 128: What Is Love?
Episode 127: Procrastination
Ep. 126: Who Were You Before The World Changed You?
Episode 125: Stop Saying "Sorry"
Episode 124: Emotional Contagion
Episode 123: Patience
Episode 122: Building On Your Foundations
Episode 121: Dealing With The Critics
Episode 120: Being Assertive. Just Say No!
Episode 119: Inactivity
Episode 118: Social Functioning & Evolution
Episode 117: Unleash Your Inner Superhero
Episode 116: Goals, Values and Priorities
Episode 115: 10 Tips To A Happier Life
Episode 114: Lies And Confabulation
Episode 113: Confirmation Bias
Episode 112: Are You An Imposter?
Episode 111: What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger
Episode 110: Are New Years Resolutions a good idea?
Episode 109: The African Violet Queen Of Milwaukee
Episode 108: Reframing
Episode 107: Spiders And Behaviourism
Episode 106: Practise Makes Perfect
Episode 105: Fear Of Flying
Episode 100 - 104: Happiness
Episode 99: Body Image And The Media
Episode 98: Evolution and Adaptation
Episode 97: Reflections And Regrets.
Episode 96: Dealing With Fear
Episode 95: Confidence
Episode 94: Enthusiasm
Episode 93: Tips To Relieve Christmas Stress
Episode 92: Dealing With Change
Episode 87 - 91: Self Esteem
Episode 86: Correlation Does Not Imply Causation
Episode 85: The Importance Of Being Lazy
Episode 84: Elephant Chains
Episode 83: Eating Bananas And Setting Goals
Episode 82: Ignoring The Media And Listening To Music
Episode 81: Awakening The Instincts
Episode 80: The Fine Line Between Love And Hate
Episode 79: The Best Medicine
Episode 78: A New Start
Episode 77: Time Distortion
Episode 76: Making Decisions
Episode 75: What's In A Name?
Episode 74: Pushing Ourselves Further
Episode 73: Conformity
Episode 72: Purpose
Episode 71: Perspective
Episode 70: Expectation
Episode 69: The Mind / Body Link
Episode 68: Overcoming Shyness
Episode 67: Mood Boosting
Episode 66: Sabotaging your goals
Episode 65: Self Talk
Episode 64: Money Makes The World Go Round
Episode 63: First Impressions Count
Episode 62: False Belief
Episode 61: Absolutes
Episode 60: The Psychology of feeling calm
Episode 59: Belief
Episode 58: Anchoring Emotions
Episode 57: Negativity and Perspective
Episode 56: Health And Happiness
Episode 55: Imagination vs Reality
Episode 54: Change