Let’s talk about obstacles and challenges. Is there a difference between the two?
According to Ryan Holiday, our perception can determine the difference.
“The Obstacle Is The Way,” takes a philosophical approach to overcoming misfortune. It is stressed throughout the book that this is more than “thinking positive.” Even when experiencing misfortune, we should find the opportunity and think creatively.
Perceiving The World Around Us
Ryan Holiday starts by explaining that our perception is the way we view events and the importance we assign to them. Although it can be difficult, the decision on how we perceive things is ultimately up to us. It is important to see things how they are and avoid assigning a “good” or “bad” label to them. This takes discipline. For example, if a loved one hurts us, we can choose to use it as an opportunity to observe and learn.
The next important step is to take action around an obstacle. We should always remember that when we face an obstacle or misfortune, what matters most is what we do. Do we avoid the situation, sit around and wait, or take massive action?
I love this quote from page 69, “No. No excuses. No exceptions. No way around it: it’s on you.”
Blunt, but true. In almost all cases, we can think creatively and find a course of action. Can it be difficult and take time, absolutely. But it is possible.
Just try to start moving.
Ryan Holiday provides some great insight into what we still have if we don’t have a choice to take any action. He simply says that our will can provide an opportunity to turn obstacles into an experience that humbles us, teaches us, or allows us to provide comfort to others. Furthermore, he says that our will has more to do with surrender than it does strength.
Our experiences could be preparing us for greater things. Can we make the world a better place for others even when our situation cannot be changed?
So, is there a difference between obstacles and challenges?
For me, I tend to see most obstacles as a challenge, daring me to take action. With some persistence, things usually work out…or I build a new level of strength.
There are many stories of perseverance throughout “The Obstacle Is The Way,” and I really enjoy Ryan Holiday’s style of writing. If you are familiar with his writing, leave a comment below.
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