The caterpillar effect



Planning for an unknown future

COVID-19, social distancing, safety, Peter Shankman



For the past six months, I've been training almost nonstop for the Ironman World Championships, in Kona, Hawaii. Originally scheduled for October of 2020, it was postponed to February of 2021. And then it was canceled outright.

My first thought was to eat all the pizza in NYC and give back in an hour all the gains I made in six months.

But fortunately, cooler heads (in the form of my trainer) prevailed. "Peter, instead of six months of training, you've now got 14 months. That's 14 months to not only get stronger and faster, but to get RIPPED. Of course, he said it in his "I'm super-hot already" voice, so it wouldn't have surprised me if he added the word "brah" to the end of the sentence.

I was still on the fence about eating all the pizza when I fell asleep last night, but when I woke up this morning, something amazing happened.

A few months ago, my daughter got sent a butterfly kit. Basically, a company mails you a cage and some larva. That turns into caterpillars, and they turn into butterflies.

And sure enough, this morning, today of all freaking days, we walked into the kitchen and found that the caterpillars had turned into beautiful butterflies, right in our apartment.


But here's the thing - Turns out, when the caterpillars build their cocoons, they have NO idea that they're about to become butterflies. In fact, they think they're dying. Because they literally become mush inside those cocoons - and rebuild themselves into these beautiful butterflies.

They don't know they're going to be these beautiful butterflies. They just think it's all over, they lived a decent life, and it's time to go.

When you think of it that way, 2020 is definitely the year of the caterpillar.

But if you believe in this kind of stuff, maybe it's because when we emerge from our current cocoon of utter hell and despair, we're going to be that much more beautiful, that much more powerful, and that much more amazing.

We've just gotta keep the faith. Like the caterpillars do. Have a great rest of the week, and remember: It's not a cancellation. It's just a chance to get even better.

Peter Shankman is an entrepreneur, an author and a trainer living in New York City. He is a stay at home dad as well.

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