The Caterpillar Theory

A caterpillar walking on a leaf.

     Ever feel like perhaps you need to change who you are, not just on the outside, but on the inside, too?

As people, we sometimes need to make a change – even if nothing is wrong to begin with. It is instinctive to desire such a change. Much like the caterpillar, from birth it begins to immediately consume tremendous amounts of food, storing it as it prepares for its cocoon stage. Does this mean the caterpillar is not beautiful already? No! The caterpillar  knows it has beauty already, but because it is instinctive for it to learn how to go from Point A to Point B, it chooses to transform into a butterfly, so that it can avoid the danger of living on land (or plants, or trees), and grow wings!

Humans are no different – sometimes we are perfect beings already, but we desire a change. It can be for simple reasons, too. I remember back when I was a teenager, I constantly experimented with different hair, different clothes, different crowds…it was not because I thought the person preceding who I became was bad in any way; it was just a desire to be able to look in the mirror and see myself in a different manner. This transcends from your teenage years and into adulthood, where we think that we become more stable, and it is true: the adult becomes a bit more contemporary, and a bit more set in their ways, but every now and then you decide to get a new haircut, or to buy a new piece of clothing you would not normally wear.

     I call this the “Caterpillar Theory”: that sometimes a simple haircut or new piece of clothing can drastically change how you feel on the inside. I actually condone this idea: that every now and then when we feel like we are in a “rut”, we should avoid quitting a job or moving to a new state…and instead, try something smaller first. I have known so many people who feel they are “stuck”, and to change that feeling, they will go through drastic means (quitting their jobs, moving themselves to a new state, and so on).

     My first piece of advice is: try something smaller first. Don’t buy a new car because of that feeling of being in a “rut”. Instead, get a different haircut; try on a new look; take a different or more scenic route to your day job…or heck, start talking with an accent! The point is to try small changes before jumping into a cocoon and transforming into a completely different insect. Maybe you did not need wings to feel better about who you are and where you are going; maybe all you need is a different view on the world you live in, and if that does not work, then go ahead and decide to change careers! It’s just that plain and simple (but of course, plan first).

     Do not uproot your life simply because you hit a midlife (or quarter-life) crisis; try the smaller things before you go about a major life change. Otherwise, you risk pushing the process too far. What if you cannot find a new job? What if you do but that new job does not make you feel any better about who you are? Try a new haircut; try a new look; try a new route. If you still feel bad, then go ahead and jump into your cocoon!

Author: Ryan W. McClellan

I am a Life Coach and Motivational Speaker, author of several books, and Key Journalist for LOL News.

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