Lessons from an oyster

Lessons from an oyster

Do you know how pearls are made? I didn't until I did a bit of research. Their origin is somewhat macabre, an inescapable cocoon, but the result is well, breathtaking. 

"The pearl's beauty is made as a result of insult." - Julia Cameron, The Sound of Paper 

Pearls are made of the same material as their shell, a crystalized compound of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Calcium carbonate from the earth's crust has been deposited into the rivers and oceans over millennia. 

The oysters use this CaCo3 compound to product crystal structures aragonite and calcite, each of which make up their inner and outer shell.  

The aragonite helps the oyster maintain their internal pH level, but one particular form of aragonite - nacre - is used by the oyster as a defense against insult: parasites, unwanted particles or irritants. When under threat, the oyster layers coatings of aragonite and proteins over the invasive substance until it completely envelops the invader in a layered cocoon of nacre; layer after layer eventually resulting in an unintentionally beautiful iridescent sphere - and a dismantled threat. 

There's something about this transformation of a threat into something beautiful that I connect with when it comes to life and business. It's easy to handle a perceived threat to your business, your ego, or your future success with animosity, hostility, defensiveness, and fear. 

Perhaps you read upsetting comments on something you posted, discovered a copycat brand, or received a negative customer review. Rumination, defensiveness, and catastrophizing the future create a hyper-fixation on the perceived threat, derailing you as your spin off into a cyclone of worry. 

On the other hand, we could react like an oyster; foregoing rumination, speculation, and spiraling, by instead responding to the threat with a definitive, effective mechanism to neutralize the threat. Instead of destroying it, we transform it. 

This ability to redirect insult from injury towards reinvention, innovation, and beauty, is what delineates defensiveness, bitterness, and defeat, from resilience.

Having learned what I did about the creation of pearls, I thought them fitting for our special collaboration with Daniela Janette. Freshwater pearls make for a classic and elegant through line, joined by summery, fun-loving charms to represent the curious world of Good Psyche. 

Get yours for a limited time. 

The Good Journal