I used to resent obstacles along the path, thinking, ‘If only that hadn’t happened life would be so good.’ Then I suddenly realized, life is the obstacles. There is no underlying path.”
Good afternoon, friends! I’m sorry this email has come at the end of the day, but duty called earlier. I’m glad I had time to complete this task. Let’s get to it!
There’s so much meat in this quote that it’s hard to know where to begin. Let’s begin with resenting obstacles. Have you ever done that? Consider Covid. This is the granddaddy of obstacles. I’m not making light of it at all or disrespecting anyone who has suffered. But from the beginning, I’ve noticed that there are at least two ways to consider it: as a burdensome obstacle, or as clarifying event. Those who resent learn little, grow little, and tend to regress. Those who embrace learn more, grow more and tend to blossom.
But as the author clarifies, life is one obstacle after another. I’ve experienced a plethora of obstacles myself, and those I have embraced have taught me much. Those I resented held me back, and some still do. I’ve witnessed this phenomenon in many people. Persons who have developed no ability to lean into challenges tend to emerge on the other side shackled with weights that represent the problems of yesterday.
Recently my son complained about some of his high school math lessons. Why, he asked, did he have to learn this “stuff”? When, he wondered, would he ever use this information? Foolishly I waded into the misery and told him that tomorrow’s math depends on the mastery of today’s problems. Almost all learning does in all disciplines. And when he stops wrestling with today’s problems the learning process ends. He took it like a teenager.
And the same is true in all our lives. When we stop wrestling with and learning from today’s challenges our lives become stunted and stifled. And the challenges of tomorrow become impossible. Nobody “wants” to lean into challenges, but the alternative is to be overrun by them. Change your perspective and make the best of every situation. And have a wonderful week!