“The only use of an obstacle is to be overcome. All that an obstacle does with brave men is not to frighten them, but to challenge them.” Woodrow Wilson
Mmmmm… Apart from our boy Woodrow’s sentiments being a bit dated, I have to admit that his comment posed an obstacle to my little gray cells. What? Woodrow makes it sound like obstacles are actually our friends – they shouldn’t frighten us, but embolden us. This triggered a surprising path of inquiry:
Obstacles, let us count the ways we love thee! How many can we come up with?
Obstacles challenge us – they push us out of our comfort zones.
Obstacles enrich us – overcoming them helps us learn and grow.
Obstacles energize us – they give us fuel and put fire in our bellies.
Obstacles embolden us – they make us braver and more self-assured.
Obstacles uplift us – to get past them, we have to move to higher ground.
Obstacles strengthen us – with every one we surmount, we grow stronger.
Obstacles stoke our desire – they show us what we really, really want.
Obstacles reveal our potential – they show us we can do more than we think.
Obstacles allow us to triumph – they give us the chance to nix naysayers.
Obstacles test our persistence – they show us the stuff we’re made of.
OK, that’s 10 ways that obstacles help us – I’m sure you can think up some more.
Here’s our takeaway: Obstacles may not make our lives easier, but they can make them better, more exciting, and sometimes, even more fun. In his book, The Last Lecture, the great educator Randy Pausch said that brick walls aren’t there to keep us out, they exist to show us exactly how much we want what’s behind them.
OK, obstacles – look out – here we come! Let’s make them work for us, not against us, as we all write on!
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