Obstacles Build Resolve

How often has something happened in the past that seemed like a disaster at the time but later turned out to be a blessing in disguise? There is wisdom in the Chinese language as they have the same symbols for the words crisis and opportunity. It is not until something drastic happens that we are forced out of our comfort zone or safe harbour and made to look at our life in a different way.

The greater the crisis the greater will be the opportunity. Some millionaires have gone broke yet end up making a fortune, sometimes in a completely different field. Everyone must cut his or her teeth on some form of experience. It is not the crisis or adversity that is the problem, it’s the way you react to it which is the problem.

So often we waste time and energy in blaming why we are in a situation and how we don’t deserve this. Instead we should be using the time to learn, re-group and move again, and we should be using our energy to be creative in raising a phoenix from the ashes of our crisis. Depressions and recessions are man-made and wreak havoc in the same way as nature’s storms and gales. Both have a pruning affect.

In common with many I have experienced adversity and each time you learn how to respond and with each response you learn a stronger character – if you choose to learn from it. I believe that for every battle won or lost you emerge stronger, for there is no other way to build character. I could never concentrate at school and left with few qualifications. With belief in myself, goals and a plan I went from earning 1000 a year to be worth several million in 10 years. There were many adversities on the way and I learned from them. Then I lost everything.

Even when the reason is beyond your control you must always take responsibility. I took responsibility because I had to. You have to look for the solution, not whom to blame. What was the benefit I learned? It taught me more about myself than the building of the company had done. I was right back where I started, only this time with a family. The difference was I knew I had done it before so I knew I could do it again, and strengthened with the learning experience I started to look at how I could turn it all around.

Adversity stimulates the imagination, stimulates the creativity and you start looking for opportunities within that adversity. I made my plan around that and within 3 years was in an even better position than before.

The interesting thing is that this new business involved something that had always absorbed me, always interested me and always held my attention. My vocation is now my vacation, which is extremely satisfying and fulfilling. Now if it had not been for my adversity I would never have been granted that opportunity. We may not see the benefits of a crisis until sometime after; but, if you look for it, you will see it.

If you could so order your life as to avoid all types of adversity, how could you develop character? Adversity mustn’t be avoided or feared, it must be embraced and overcome. Every time something happens say to yourself: What can I learn from this? What benefit can I derive from this? What opportunities have been shown to me?

Obstacles are part payment towards your success and must be used to strengthen your resolve, not weaken it.

Once upon a time… a young man dreamed about being a farmer. He found a farm and bought it. Not very experienced in business matters, he wanted to grow crops, but after completing his purchase he discovered to his horror that there would be insufficient water to irrigate his produce. The river, his water source, appeared to have dried up overnight.

Following the dried-up riverbed towards its source led him up a steep mountainous path. In time he came across an enormous boulder that had fallen directly into the path of the river, causing the water to divert its flow to the rocks below where it was lost. He resolved to smash this obstacle to his dreams and went back to his farm to get a sledgehammer. He would have to remove the obstacle on his own for there was no way he had any spare money to do otherwise. Upon his return he hit the rock hard, swinging with all his strength. Nothing happened. Not even a mark. Not even a tiny splinter of rock. It was as if he had not even hit it. He hit it again and again and again.

For over 500 times he kept hitting it. His hands had long since blistered and were now bleeding. His chest and shoulders ached from the work. A cry of frustration escaped his lips as he sank to his knees with exhaustion. The boulder stood as it had since the first hit. The farmer started to question his resolve. He started to doubt whether he could ever move it. He began to question whether he should have bought the farm. He began to doubt if he should have even been a farmer. Perhaps his family and friends had been right. This dream of his was doomed to failure before he started.

If you question anything long enough you start to doubt it.

After a break he stood up to hit it again, and again. Upon the 502nd time the rock seem to groan before splitting right in two. Instantly the trapped water gushed through. What did it? The 502nd hit, or the 502 hits. We don’t always get what we want straightaway. We have to keep chipping away and chipping away until we win through. Too many stop when they have almost succeeded.

What really had done it was the farmer’s resolve, which although he questioned and began to doubt, he stuck to his original commitment. With such commitment, providence moved. And so it is with you. Obstacles instruct more than they obstruct. To be a success you have to believe in yourself, and you have to do what you must do when you should do it, and keep on doing it till you win through.

You have to commit yourself to keep going not when it is easy but when it is tough. When the going is really tough. When everything inside you is telling you to give up. Providence moves on the side of steadfast commitment. Whatever your goal, make a decision that you will never give up on it. Look upon setbacks as lessons that you must endure before you can become what you want. Don’t let self-created obstacles of self-doubt defeat you before you start. Resolve to keep going until you win through! It won’t kill you and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

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