“Live on in your blessings, your destiny’s been won. But ours calls us on from one ordeal to the next.” — Virgil
As with change, so too must we embrace the obstacles of our lives.
They are constant and challenge us to evolve in our thinking and ways. A life with no obstacles is a life without the impetus to improve. As an old Chinese proverb says, “the gem cannot be polished without friction, nor man perfected without trials.”
What is an obstacle, exactly?
Facing a seemingly insurmountable task
Being afraid of something or someone
Losing a loved one
Losing your job
Adversity builds character, strength and great appreciation for the hard-earned reward. According to Seneca, “difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.” Those who have not struggled are soft and untested. They fold and retreat under the slightest pressure.
How do you embrace an obstacle? By asking questions like this:
How can you turn it to your advantage?
What can you learn from it?
What does it teach you?
How can you improve?
The path untrodden is filled with obstacles waiting to be cleared. Many of them will be difficult, but that is entirely the point. You don’t adapt without stressing the system.
In the words of Steve Goodier... “Those who overcome great challenges will be changed, and often in unexpected ways. For our struggles enter our lives as unwelcome guests, but they bring valuable gifts. And once the pain subsides, the gifts remain. These gifts are life’s true treasures, bought at great price, but cannot be acquired in any other way.”
Choose to see obstacles as opportunities for growth, not defeat. Challenge yourself with what is uncomfortable, difficult or even scary. Behind one obstacle lies another faced by a better you.
Life truly is one obstacle after the next. It tests us regardless of whether we are willing to participate or not. You have three choices:
Hide if you can.
Let the obstacle defeat you.
Rise to the challenge and advance.
I encourage you to struggle for those gifts acquired by advancing beyond each obstacle.