Oh, how sad it is to live a life without any obstacles! Or how fortunate it must be. I wouldn’t know. Fortunate or sad, it must depend on your vantage point. I know which side I am on. I am on the side of those who think it is sad to never face an obstacle. However, I can also understand the other side. Who wants to face obstacles anyway? No one. We spend our lives trying to avoid obstacles because we don’t like stress. We just want a stress-free life, don’t we? Yes, we do. Yet, a stress-free life is as common as a unicorn sighting.

I feel sad for people who have never faced an obstacle or a minimum of obstacles. The sentence sounds a bit bigoted, or it sounds full of prejudice. I have led a life full of obstacles and problems, so I cannot, for the life of me, picture a life with no obstacles. It makes me wonder. A life with no obstacles or problems means a life where everything is peachy, where no mistakes are made, a life where you don’t get to go out of your comfort zone, it means living in a castle that protects you from the world, the real world, the one where problems and obstacles are an everyday occurrence, not an exception.

All these theories lead me towards a list of questions, legitimate questions in my humble opinion: How are you going to learn anything if you don’t make mistakes? How will you know what you are made of if you never fail? How are you going to become resilient if you face no obstacles? How will you learn to rebound from a setback?  Have you ever messed up? Were you ever out there, taking chances, trying new things? So that means you have never faced adversity, right? So many questions…The last question is to try and understand what kind of life that would be. Perhaps a wealthy life, where everything is provided, where “no” is rarely uttered, where adversity and problems are kept to a bare minimum. It sounds like a great life honestly, but is it?

I can’t pretend that problems and obstacles are fun. They certainly are not. They are more than a nuisance. Problems and obstacles bring stress, they can end up hurting you. Yet in retrospect, problems and obstacles, apart from the pain, sorrow and devastation they might bring, they are also an opportunity. What kind of opportunity? I am so glad you asked! Obstacles bring out your true self. You get a chance to see what you are made of. You have an opportunity to face your troubles and stand your ground. You get to push back, think on your feet, improvise, adapt, create new ways to deal with the walls that life just build in front of you.

Problems and obstacles build your character, they shape your personality and we hope, for the best. Problems and obstacles shape your resilience and strengthen it. By facing obstacles, you learn how to solve problems, jump over the hurdles, and you are left to contemplate your strength and weaknesses. You get a chance to study what you did well and what needs work, for the next time around. If there is one thing that is sure in this life, a problem that occurred today, may very well occur tomorrow or in the future, so, you better learn how to fix that problem. An obstacle can present an opportunity of a lifetime. A negative can be turned into a positive, only if you have the fortitude to see it through.

Life is about trying to find solutions to problems and beating obstacles. That is what real life is, for common folk like myself, I cannot speak for anybody else. I know the obstacles that have populated my life ended up becoming my biggest blessings. It might also be the fact that I trained my mind to see obstacles as challenges and opportunities. It didn’t come easy however. It took years of self training, of learning, of failing, of adapting, of adopting new ways when the old ways failed me. I am certain you see yourself in this puzzle that is called life. I hope you face obstacles in your life. Facing obstacles makes you stronger, smarter, it builds your reflexes, your responses, your adaptation skills and most importantly, your problem-solving skills.

Be thankful for obstacles. I know it is hard when you are facing a tough situation and all you want to do is cry, scream and pull your hair out because you can’t see a way out. You will find a way out, you will see the light at the end of the tunnel. Resilience is like the roman empire and its city, it doesn’t get built in a day. It takes time, patience, courage, perseverance, being stubborn as well, to lesser and stronger degrees. Your life might be easier with no problems or obstacles, but it would also be boring, dull. Who likes that? I’d rather fight in the mud and dirty my hands. Then again, that’s just me. Feel free to do as you see fit, disagree with me if you must, I welcome it.

Just one man’s opinion.

Now smile, problem or no problem and go on with your day.

Freeman. B

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