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.

Become a public relations guru with Peter Shankman. He is massively discounting his Master the Media PR course! Because people still have a lot of time at home, and want to improve, his $757 Master the Media course is still just $99! Get it before the price goes back up! Over 1,500 people have downloaded the course, and they're all getting better media placements! Why not join them?

Other articles by Peter Shankman

  • Resolutions Fail. Rituals Succeed.

    Peter talks about succeeding in the new year

    Best selling author, Peter Shankman, thinks resolutions are the stupidest things in the world. They rarely succeed, because we're a society that values "instant wins," and you just don't get them from resolutions. read more »
  • What's your Decision Altitude?

    Don't miss out by being indecisive

    Skydivers have a bunch of interesting traditions. Specific fist-bumps before exiting the plane to keep us safe. Being hit by a pie after your 100th jump. But one of them is deadly serious. It's called "decision altitude." What is yours? read more »
  • Turn your weakness into a badge of honor

    Start thinking of them as gifts

    Stop thinking of your weaknesses as weaknesses. Start thinking of them as gifts. Because if you allow them to be, that's exactly what they are. read more »
  • Never Change to Match Your Surroundings

    Just be you

    Peter Shankman talks about driving home a lesson in being yourself with his daughter. read more »
  • Don't be afraid to fail

    Success often comes on the heels of failure

    Peter Shankman, the top keynote speaker in marketing, brand building, social media and customer service, talks about his failures and successes. read more »
  • Thoughts on a Fat Guy in Spandex...

    Treat yourself with a little kindness

    Peter Shankman completes a marathon and decides he should treat himself better. You should too. read more »
  • Without Trust, You've Got Nothing

    Peter Shankman talks about trusting a brand

    Billy Joel had it right. It truly is a matter of trust. If you can't trust a brand - a company - a person - nothing else they do will ever matter. Your job, above all else, is to make sure your company, your brand, heck, even you, are trusted by everyone with whom you interact. Because even just a little bit of mistrust can cause lasting damage. read more »
  • s-NO-w Day

    The world won't come to a halt if you spend the snow day with your kids

    Peter Shankman offers some great advice on what to do with that surprise snow day read more »
  • Believe in yourself

    Some great advice from Peter Shankman

    Peter Shankman talks about having faith in yourself. read more »
  • 22 Years Ago Today, I was Miserable. Best. Day. Ever.

    An entrepreneur’s adventure

    Peter Shankman tells the story of his start up company and gives a word-to-the-wise: If you don’t like where you are move on! read more »