Different biological parameters of the astronauts were measured (blood pressure, heart rate, pulse…) to determine how well they performed under stress. The astronauts were divided into two groups, only one of which was given a button, which they called the ‘Panic Button’. If they find the stress unbearable, they were instructed, pushing the Panic Button will immediately end the experiment.
The procedure went on, and, at the end, the groups’ performance was evaluated. The group having the ‘Panic Button’ not only showed much lower level of stress as indicated by the measured biological parameters, but also their level of performance, decision making, and creative solutions for the problems at hand were way better than the group having no way out of the experiment. Yet, this is not the most fascinating result, the most fascinating thing about this experiment was that neither of the two groups actually used the ‘Panic Button’.
Just knowing that you actually do have a way out, that you have a 'Button' and pressing it will solve all your problems and end all your misery, make you think straighter, control your reactions, keep your calm and normalize your biological functions even if you never do actually press this Button!
We all have a built-in Panic Button... Sometimes our calamity, pains, problems or challenges are the ultimate test of our faith… Do we really believe that we are in safe hands; that we are always taken care of no matter how hard our test seems to be?
How strong is our faith? This faith is what brings peace to our heart, this faith is what gives us all the energy, strength, and stamina we need to proceed forward even when the tunnel is so dark and the pain is excruciating. We believe deep in our heart that we will never be given a burden that we cannot handle; we believe deep in our hearts that the light is there, the fog will soon lift and the pain will be part of a laughable and cherished memory.
Patience and perseverance are virtues we need to reclaim. We are a society who grew up on Band-Aids and painkillers. We grew very low tolerance to pain. We were taught to silence it and go on with our lives… We never learned how to embrace it, listen to it and learn from it.
I just heard a story about how lobsters grow… A soft creature trapped in a hard inflexible shell… When the lobster grows, the shell becomes tight; it physically hurts to stay trapped. The lobster hides under a rock to protect itself from predators; sheds the old shell and grow a bigger one… The new shell fits perfectly for as long as it is meant to… but, with time, the lobster grow bigger again and its new shell becomes a painful trap that needs to be shed once more. The lobster hides again, shed the now old shell and grow a fresh bigger one…
If the lobster were to live in our ‘advanced’ human society, as soon as the shell becomes tight and the pain starts, he would be advised to pop some painkillers in order to silence his suffering and may be some anti-depressants to withstand the pressure he’s under… If the lobster were to live in our ‘advanced’ human society, he would have never grown, he would have been forever trapped in his old story convinced that this is all he can be, he would have numbed his needs for growth and creative expression with mind altering drugs and silenced his painful urges with NSAIDs…
Luckily, the lobster does not live in our human society, that’s why he is and will forever continue growing his new shells and his story does and will forever stand to teach us how to grow ours; how to embrace the pain as a messenger, as a teacher, as a signal; how to be patient and persevere until our new shell is ready... His story does and will forever stand to teach us how to embrace those vulnerable moments when we need to hide under a rock not out of weakness but for renewal and re-structuring… And, most importantly, it teaches us how to stand our ground and endure the tough scary moments when we’re stripped bare without protective armour safeguarding our soft core… At those scary moments, remember that you have a built-in ‘Panic Button’… All you need to do is TRUST!