Are you a person who loves challenges, or hates them? Growing up, challenges were seen as frustrating, maddening obstacles keeping me from where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do.
As I grow older and (hopefully) wiser – I find my competitive nature rising up to meet these challenges, and I’m learning to see them differently. Most of us know that great rewards require great sacrifice and effort. John Maxwell says it this way, “Everything worthwhile is uphill, you can’t give downhill effort and expect uphill results.” Do you know the old saying that nothing worthwhile comes easy? In a sense that’s true. If everything we wanted was handed to us, we probably wouldn’t have much appreciation for it. On the other hand, when we work hard for something and then see it come to be before our eyes, we get such a wonderful sense of accomplishment and sometimes a little pride. We can point to it and say, “I did that. It was tough, but I did it anyway.”
Challenges truly are opportunities. Opportunities to grow and learn, to strengthen ourselves, to test ourselves and our faith. They reveal how badly we want, our commitment, to create the dreams in our hearts, and how hard we’re willing to work for them. This is such a blessing. It may not seem that way at first, but with a tiny shift in attitude, we soon realize that we have been handed an incredible opportunity.
The next time life hands you a challenge, and the one promise I can make to you is, life will hand you a challenge, stop and consider for a moment what it means. Is the universe really saying “no”, or is the message, “I want you to try harder?” Don’t look at challenges as an end, look at them as a door leading to your heart’s desires. That door might be locked, but you have the key. Keep knocking and the door will be opened. Maybe you forgot where you put the key, keep searching and it will be found, or you forgot that you even had it to begin with. It might take some effort and patience to find it again – or you might even have to create a new one, but believe and know that you will, even if you’re not sure how yet.
I’m learning that it’s not important to have all the answers right now. There’s joy in the discovery and learning. When challenges rise up before us, we may not know how to get around them, or through them. At first, it might seem hopeless, and that happens right before a breakthrough. I get it that challenges can seem so overwhelming when we don’t have a solution. However, life itself is very much like this too. Sometimes life is akin to bumping around in a dark room, trying to find the light switch. It is possible to get through the room without finding the light switch immediately, we just need to step slowly and carefully. Moment to moment, we find our way. Like in a dark room when we’re patient and persistent our eyes acclimate to the darkness and we can begin to see in the dark.
When obstacles appear in your path, rather than giving up… look at them as welcome challenges. The biggest challenge is choosing your own attitude. Will you get flustered and angry, or will you get excited and determined? Will you lay down and cry, or will you roll up your sleeves and get to work? Some of us take on a victim mentality when obstacles arise, and I can see why this happens. Sometimes it feels like the universe is picking on us, doesn’t it? I think we’ve all been there! The key is to ask yourself the correct questions…
Why not change your mindset and think of obstacles as a personal challenge? Rather than feeling like the universe is picking on you, challenge yourself to figure out a solution. Say to yourself, “Okay, such and such has happened, now what am I going to do about it?”
Put your problem-solving skills to work. Look for areas in your life where you’ve experienced similar circumstances. They might be smaller but know you can do this. Once we begin to change our attitude about obstacles and challenges, they can actually become fun and help us grow. Summon your faith and your competitive nature, rise up and get ready to win, no matter what. Work to develop a steely determination to not be beaten. Should you fall short, ask yourself: “What did you learn?” and “How can you grow?” from it. Let me know your strategy to overcome challenges.