Dear Why Team member,
I hope this week’s message finds you well and up for a challenge.
Have you ever noticed how a child reacts versus how an adult reacts when presented with a challenge?
To most children, challenges are opportunities to prove themselves, to try something new; to most adults, a challenge is yet another problem they have to deal with. One of my absolute favorite insights comes from Tony Robbins, who once said that our primary problem is that we believe we shouldn’t have any.
How did we get to the point of thinking that life should be easy; that if we’re having difficulties and challenges, something is wrong?! When did challenges become a problem? And is a problem always something that is wrong? Consider a math “problem” to solve, is it a wrong that isn’t right, or just a problem to solve, to aid our learning and grow our skills?
If we are facing a problem, does that always mean that something or someone is wrong?
Why must we point a finger when our life has problems that need solving?
It is certainly easier and more convenient to believe someone else is “the” problem, consider the divorce rate now at 50%. Maybe we just have a dysfunctional relationship with life’s difficulties and challenges.
Let’s say we run out of gas and find ourselves on the side of the road; of course our attitude will determine our behavior. We might begin by chastising ourself for not attending more to the gas gauge. Of course there is always the victim route; complaining why does this always happen to me, or blaming the faulty gas gauge, and why doesn’t this car have more reserve gas :-)
Some may not respond negatively at all as the emotion will not be very productive and burn vital energy; they either get busy walking to the next exit for gas or call triple AAA; it is what it is.
What we tell ourselves about life’s challenges of course largely affects how we approach those challenges, how we live our lives. It seems that so much time and energy is wasted in our resistance to challenge - we often live with the false belief that if it ain’t easy, something is wrong.
It may be very powerful, as we begin this new year, to look into why we may think the way we do about life’s difficulties.
Again, from Tony Robbins:
“Our primary problem is that we believe we shouldn’t have any problems.” If this isn’t the primary problem it’s certainly in the top three.
M. Scott Pecks book, The Road Less Traveled, was on The NY Times best seller list for 10 consecutive years. The very first sentence of the book simply reads: “Life is Difficult”
And then Peck writes,
“This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult—once we truly understand and accept it—then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”
Wow, take a moment to really think about that....
How much more difficult do we make our experience of life with our personal expectations that life should be easy. When we live with a constant dissatisfaction with the difficulties of life, we begin to look for something or someone to blame; often avoiding as best we can any mirrors that may be hanging in the house :-)
But why the need for blame?
If we felt less like a victim, would we not have less desire to blame others? Or even life itself as being unfair?
Wouldn’t acceptance of difficulty empower us to better address any challenges at hand?
None of us have an equal amount of benefit or challenge in life - it varies from person to person. I know siblings from the same family with vastly different life outcomes over time.
Consider your view of life and all it’s challenges. Is your primary problem your belief that there shouldn’t be any problems? Start looking at challenges through the eyes of a child, embrace the opportunity to become more and to grow. Where else are we to find meaning for our lives if there were not challenges to address. Maybe the first place we start is our own behavior, our own attitudes. Victims see victims all around them and can’t help but want to unite against life and all of it’s terrible inconveniences.
Victors see victors all around them and want to encourage and inspire each other to embrace challenge as a path to unlocking potential.
Of course there is injustice and unfortunately life isn’t fair; but how we each show up to this reality, and how we approach it, will determine our individual success. Consider the real outcomes of your specific behavior. Kicking a flat tire on the side of the road, screaming at the injustice of difficulty, is likely not a positive contribution. Best to just get busy solving your own challenge and seeing it as an opportunity to grow up.
Life is difficult and it’s best not to live life like it’s coming after you, but rather live with an attitude that says bring it on. Those who choose to do difficult things are fortifying themselves for the difficult things that will surely come. Do not live timidly in the corner, mad at the world. Stand up and embrace the challenges that are for you to bear. Take on those challenges that unlock your potential and through your valiant efforts serve others as an example to follow.
Don’t make life’s problems a problem, but rather an opportunity for you to become more. Embrace life’s difficulties, expect them, invite them and you’ll find yourself more of what the world needs now.
Make it a great week!