Lessons from the Hermit Crab

I found this pretty amazing analogy in Derek Sivers’s summary of The Art of Learning.

The Hermit Crab grows inside until its shell is no longer able to accomodate it, when it leaves and goes on to find a new shell. It is at the most vulnerable state in that period of transfer, prone to predators.

Entity theorists think “I am smart at this” and attribute success or failure to ingrained and unalterable level of ability. They see it as a fixed entity that cannot evolve. Someone stuck in an entity mindset is like an anorexic hermit crab, starving itself so it doesn’t grow to have to find a new shell

I’d like to draw a parallel here. It is that state of vulnerability that one fears, when one must take up new challenges and or responsibility, or even embrace change. People forget that the end result is always growth, the crab only leaves when it has outgrown its shell.

And in the even bigger picture: In order to achieve complete excellence, you must be vulnerable at some point or the other.