Consider the oyster.

(Yes, that’s a book by MFK Fischer, but we’re not talking about that!)

So, consider the oyster. The legend is that sand gets into an oyster, which is irritating, so the oyster responds by creating nacre to insulate itself from the irritation of the sand. (Brief research on Wikipedia says that it’s NOT sand, which oysters breathe in and out all the time, but a type of parasite that creates the irritation. Or in the case of cultured pearls, bits of shell may be used.)

The whole point of this is to illustrate that out of being IRRITATED, something beautiful emerges.

Human beings can be pretty predictable. Most of us avoid being irritated.

We avoid conflict, difficulty, uncertainty and risk. It’s been a useful part of our evolution and survival as a species. Conflict, difficulty, uncertainty and risk might have us die. Or at least it seems that way sometimes.

When confronted with irritation, we often look for the least path of resistance to deal with it and get back to whatever our status quo is. Even to the point of pretending that the conflict, difficulty, uncertainty or risk doesn’t exist. (Which can make things more difficult, more uncertain, more risky and create more conflict.)

That commitment to NOT being irritated keeps things in place. What’s not so obvious is that unwillingness to be irritated keeps us from creating pearls.

What can also be hidden is that it’s NATURAL to create pearls when irritated. The oyster doesn’t have a conversation with herself and say, “OK, I guess I HAVE TO create a pearl here, because if I don’t, I’m a bad oyster.”

The irritation, alone, has her start creating. It’s natural.

Where might you start irritating yourself into creation?

PS–Over two years later, I’m adding to this post:  The brilliant Marketing Expert and Guru, Seth Godin, says more about this subject in a blog post today–see his words here: