Challenges are an inherent part of being alive, and we all have personal insecurities and fears. The frenetic pace of modern life with its demands of consumerism and tangible rewards does much to exacerbate this reality.
But we can shift our perspective, view these obstacles as something put in our path to make us rise instead of something to dread and fight against. If we meet these challenges with grace and poise, we can gain self-knowledge—learn what we really want—realize how strong we are.
In this manner, our obstacles become gifts. They increase our self-confidence, and most importantly, in our quest to overcome them, we learn how much our dreams really mean to us.
We realize that we are given free will to choose to persevere in the face of failure, instead of giving up the first time we fail. We begin to understand that by choosing our thoughts and taking action, we can also pick a different fate.
Why not just try—instead of find reasons to never begin? Why stay stuck in relationships that don’t serve or empower us or help us grow?
At any moment, we can mobilize our free will to make a different choice. To find a new love, a new job, that brings us joy instead of just a paycheck.
The turning point is realizing that we have the power to figure out what kind of life makes us happy—regardless of whether or not this lives up to societal expectations of normal.
We can choose to better our relationships by surrounding ourselves with people that make us learn and stretch. We can take a yoga class where the “cool crowd” likes to go. We can sign up for a theater or cooking class or even join an animal rescue project. We can find our tribe, the kind of people that share our passions.
Let boredom be the launch of new adventures—the purchase of a one-way ticket on the trip of your life.
We might fall short of expectations, but that doesn’t mean we failed. Failure can be viewed as practice for success next time.
Consider a baby. How many times does a baby have to fall down before he starts walking? The baby doesn’t quit trying to walk or get depressed just because he falls down once. Because, if that were the case, we would all still be crawling. The baby perseveres until he stands up. Success comes from standing up gracefully after falling down.
We get to choose our role models—those that live up to our highest ideals and are living their dreams. Actively seek these people out, research them, how they became successful—then try to be just like them.
These avatars point us in the direction of our best life, show us the way—they are living proof that happiness and fulfillment are possible.
And in this way, we become that person—we become the one that inspires others to dare. We learn how to turn our obstacles into possibilities.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Intern: Amanda Fleming Taylor/Editor: Rachel Nussbaum
Photo: Elephant Journal Archives