the obstacle is the way

The obstacle is the way

Anything of any value requires action on your part. Action sometimes, if not often,  brings adversity. The harvest — if it ever comes — requires you to plant seeds and consistently cultivate your land. Even with all of the science we know, you still start with only a fistful of seeds, and a heart full of faith to build your garden. Obstacles will appear, and they appear often.

This is good news.

Why? Because the obstacle is the way.

Don’t just take my word for it. This idea has been passed down since the age of the Roman empire, affirmed by one of the fathers of stoicism, Marcus Aurelius.

Your obstacles are golden opportunities for you to sharpen your own sword of virtue. You can use these temporary moments of difficulty to develop your creativity,  build your grit, and learn who that person really is looking at you in the mirror.

Do you know how gold is refined into beautiful jewelry? Gold ore is placed into a blast furnace (often called a crucible) and cooked at 1100 degrees. The heat exposes impurities in the ore. The gold is then removed from the fire, and the impurities are scraped from the hunks of ore. The process is repeated until all the impurities are removed, and beautiful piece of metal glistens brilliantly. You will too.

Being put in difficult environments can reveal who you are, and will help you become stronger. You will become greater and greater and every juncture in your life, if you allow it.

But, pain is real.

I truly have no idea what you are experiencing, and I don’t take it lightly. But what I do know is the pain of regret lasts longer and hurts exponentially more than the pain of growth or the pain of discipline.

It may take some practice, but I want you to turn your challenges upside down. They are good for you. Adversity is like the hard shell of the oyster, and overcoming it is the pearl. The obstacle is the way.

Do you have a tough job and want to quit? Only resign after you’ve learned the lesson, or  beaten what was once a challenge. Add that accomplishment to the growing list of triumphs to your mind’s trophy case of your mind. If (when is probably more appropriate) hardship appears at another time, you’ll be able to remember your past successes. In fact, your future hardships won’t be so hard.

Over time, your mental fortitude will grow stronger in the face of adversity. You will develop an ironclad confidence, unfettered by what life throws at you.  Remember, any worthwhile endeavor will have some difficulties. This is par for the course, especially if you are breaking family cycles, changing your life, or otherwise evolving as an individual. As Aurelius said, the obstacle is the way.

Wisdom for your journey:

“Our actions may be impeded… But there can be no impeding our intentions or our dispositions. Because we can accommodate and adapt. The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting.

The impeding to action advances action.

What stands in the way becomes the way.”

― Marcus Aurelius

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