Unless you’re a hurdle runner or a high-jumper, you probably don’t like
obstacles. They seem to slow you down
and block the way to goals. But they
also build character.
good obstacle can test resolve. If a
runner sits down in front of the first hurdle without even trying to get over
it, then she doesn’t deserve to win the race.
The people who win are the ones who make continued, solid efforts and
persevere. Good runners, scientists,
artists, teachers and writers know that it takes persistence over long periods
of time to achieve results. Most face multiple
trials, frequent rejection and even ridicule at their drafts and plans before
achieving a level of competence that will bring them name and fame. Only those who persist in perfecting their
work will succeed. Thomas Edison,
renowned for inventing the light bulb failed over and over before he found the
filament that worked. When others
criticized him for being foolish and wasting time, he replied that he’d found
9,999 ways that didn’t work. Imagine if
he had not continued on to the 10,000 attempt to invent the light bulb. The world would be a much darker place.
strengthen us for future trials and tests.
Remember being back in school? A
mid-term test checked progress and we had to pass it to move onto the finals. Life presents tests in the same way. Without occasional trials along the road we
don’t know our own strength and capacity.
Embrace the tests and welcome them.
They’ll teach you how tough you really are.
stuck behind a hurdle only becomes problematic if you don’t recognize you’re
blocked. Becoming aware of the obstacle
in the path is the first step to getting over it. One of the harder things in life is continuing
to learn and grow. It’s easy to get
stuck repeating the same comfortable routines and going to the same places over
and over. It’s harder to move out of
one’s comfort zone and try something new, reach out to new people and learn a
new skill, craft or art. Life long learning means taking the risk of looking
ridiculous. Learning a foreign language
without having native speakers smile or laugh is virtually impossible. The best way to get past worry of ridicule is
to take yourself lightly and keep a sense of humor. If you stick to it, soon they’ll stop
laughing and start admiring the progress you’ve made in a new language.
Obstacles offer opportunities to
open new doors and view things in another way.
Embrace and welcome them. If none
existed life would get pretty boring and we wouldn’t know our own strength and
Debra’s essays and articles appear in publications around the world and
focus on drawing attention to the spiritual in a mostly material-minded world.
She’s on the faculty for The Sophia Institute’s 2010 Writing Program (www.thesophiainstitute.org)
and gives workshops around the U.S.and Europe. Her fiction was broadcast by BBC
World Services and appears in literary magazines. Read more at www.debramoffitt.com