The Obstacle is the Way

Jul 14, 2015

So, Gabe, my seven year old, and I are driving Sunday night and I asked him what the coolest thing he learned last week in camp was. He said, “to face my fears.”

I love that my seven year old is learning this. And not only was told this but got to see it in action. He was at a local camp called Seven Summits recently, which is an outdoor-based camp, with a series of obstacles like climbing, zip lining, kayaking, etc. It’s focus is to help kids with confidence, team-building and facing their fears. They do a bunch of events for companies and sports teams too. Now, I want to go!

So, it was a simple question…and a simple, yet profound, answer. He said he climbed a 60 foot wall and it took him an hour to do it. He said he was “creeped out” at first (I love the words kids use to describe stuff). I asked him what made him finish it and get to the top and he simply said he wanted to.

There’s something magical that happens when we face our fears. When we take action instead of being paralyzed by our insecurities, there is bound to be something good that comes of it. Being stuck or standing still is never a good place. Taking action, continuing to push forward….just getting up when you’ve been knocked down, now that’s powerful.

Each kid got a nickname at the end of camp and Gabe’s was “Smooth” – not sure why, but the kid loves to wear his sunglasses (or keep them on top of his head) so I’m guessing that had something to do with it : )

I’m super proud of this kid. He learned maybe life’s most valuable lesson. I pray and hope that he continues to learn more about this but the stage is set for him. He’s seen firsthand how overcoming fears and obstacles can lead to some amazing things.

I recently had a deal come it at work. A lot of people played a big part in bringing it home. As a thank you, I’m giving all of the key players a book I’ve read multiple times in the last year – The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday. It’s helped immensely in overcoming challenges at work and in life. I would venture to even call it a life-changing book – I highly recommend reading it.

I thought I’d share some quotes from the book that resonated with me. I hope they add value to your life and if you’re going through a challenge…or when you do….that you can use perspective like this to keep pressing on.

“Where one person sees a crisis, another can see opportunity. Where one is blinded by success, another sees reality with ruthless objectivity. Where one loses control of emotions, another can remain calm. Desperation, despair, fear, powerlessness—these reactions are functions of our perceptions. You must realize: Nothing makes us feel this way; we choose to give in to such feelings.”

Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage

“Knowing that life is a marathon and not a sprint is important. Conserve your energy. Understand that each battle is only one of many and that you can use it to make the next one easier. More important, you must keep them all in real perspective. Passing one obstacle simply says you’re worthy of more. The world seems to keep throwing them at you once it knows you can take it. Which is good, because we get better with every attempt. Never rattled. Never frantic. Always hustling and acting with creativity. Never anything but deliberate. Never attempting to do the impossible—but everything up to that line. Simply flipping the obstacles that life throws at you by improving in spite of them, because of them. And therefore no longer afraid. But excited, cheerful, and eagerly anticipating the next round.”

Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Adversity to Advantage

photo credit: What’s next? via photopin (license)


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