Monday, April 29, 2019

Do You Know Your Own Strength?


In an interesting experiment at Amherst College (Amherst, Massachusetts) a band of steel was secured around a young squash. As the squash grew, it exerted pressure on the steel band. Researchers wanted to know just how strong a growing squash could be, so they measured the force it brought to bear on its constraints. They initially estimated that it might be able to exert as much as 500 pounds of pressure, which is a rather remarkable feat in itself.
In one month, the squash was pressing the hoped-for 500 pounds. But it didn’t stop there. In two months it was applying 1,500 pounds against the steel band and soon the researchers measured 2,000 pounds of pressure. That is when they decided to strengthen the band which was now threatening to snap. As it grew, the squash applied more and more pressure in order to free itself of the constraint. It finally achieved the astounding force of 5,000 pounds of pressure to bear on the band (ten times their original estimation) – when the rind split open.
Researchers sliced it open and found it to be inedible, as it was filled with tough, coarse fibers that had grown specifically to push against the steel which held it in. Since the plant required great amounts of nutrients to gain the strength needed to break its bonds, its roots extended unusual distances in all directions. In fact, it had grown to be so large and powerful, it single-handedly took over the garden space.
Similarly, we may have no idea just how strong we really can be when faced with great obstacles. If a squash can exert that much physical pressure, how much more strength can human beings apply to a situation? Most of us are stronger than we realize. Chilean writer Isabel Allende reminds us, “We all have an unsuspected reserve of strength inside that emerges when life puts us to the test.”

Are you being tested? Do you face an immovable obstacle? Does it seem overwhelming? If so, remember the squash. Its single-minded purpose was to break the bonds which held it. If you patiently focus your energy – what problem can stand against the great mental, spiritual and physical strength you can bring to bear?

-- Steve Goodier

Image: flicker.com/Rudi Riet

2 comments:

LoveBeing said...

What a wonderful story! :-)
I'll remember it now when I'll think of a squash!
Lots of Love & a Big Hug!
Gil from Israel <3

david browne said...

Sound like a good plan for when you’re under a lot of pressure? At first reading the analogy and recommendation seem so, at least Steve Goodier, the author seems to think so. It’s not uncommon for someone to look at a single element of some research and make an application to human behavior. Often it requires a leap of faith to do that and it succeeds because readers don’t analyze correctly the process or the results. So, let’s look at both the process and the results.

These are the events as reported:

• A small squash was encircled with an iron band limiting its ability expand as it grew and gradually exerting increasing pressure.
• After one month researchers measured the pressure, expecting it to be perhaps 500 lbs. and discovering it was 1500 lbs.
• At 2000 lbs. pressure they concluded that the band would break so a new one was applied with more resistance.
• At 5000 lbs pressure the squash split open.

Those are the events of the experiment. These are the results of the analysis:

It was inedible, filled with tough course fibers. Because it required nutrients to survive it took them from other plants in the garden, crowding them out and taking over the entire garden.

So let’s carry this to a reasonable conclusion based on what we know from the experiment. We can conclude that the squash had one objective in its short life; to survive and at any cost. All available resources were directed toward achieving that objective. It became hard (and probably bitter) inside, of no value to anyone, never achieving what it was created for and finally self-destructed – an untimely death by suicide.

And following Mr. Goodlier’s analogy, by focusing solely on yourself all the strength you gain will make you deformed and useless inside and will take over/destroy those around you making a place where no one else can survive or thrive.