“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” ~ Marcus Aurelius
Each of us has Teachers that come into our lives at various times. Each of these Teachers brings an important lesson. Until you learn the lesson, that Teacher comes back again and again. Until you learn the lesson, you can’t move on.
The Farmer and the Donkey
I once heard a story about an old donkey who had outlived it’s usefulness. It was too old to work any more. The farmer who owned the donkey thought about having it put down, but just couldn’t bring himself to do so. However, one day the donkey fell into a deep pit and couldn’t get out. “Well,” thought the farmer, “this is the end. I’ll just fill in the pit with dirt and bury this poor old donkey.”
The farmer started shoveling dirt into the pit. But when the donkey felt the dirt hit its back, it shook it off and stepped on top of it. As each new shovelful hit, it shook it off and stepped on top of it. Eventually, the donkey stepped out of the pit and lived out its life in peace.
What Stands In The Way . . .
When adversity comes to you, how do you respond? We sometimes see these events as “bad” or negative . . . but it is our beliefs that make them so. Mike Dooley, author of “Infinite Possibilities” (and the sender of Notes from the Universe), calls these events “stepping stones” on the way to the realization of our dreams. Sometimes, though, these stepping stones appear more as walls – obstacles in the path of reaching our objectives.
Here are some things you can do to help turn the obstacles in your path back into stepping stones.
. . . Becomes The Way
Accept it. Acceptance is the first step in moving forward. It does no good to rail against the injustice or ask “Why did this have to happen to me?” Nor is denial helpful. Acceptance doesn’t mean approval or agreement or condoning, consenting or endorsement. It simply means you understand that things are what they are and that what is, is.
“No shame, no blame.” This mantra came to me from Joe Dominguez in his book, “Your Money Or Your Life”. He used it in the context of examining one’s spending habits, but it has taken on a wider use for me. Neither feeling shame nor trying to place blame is helpful in any situation. When you look on these adverse experiences as chances to learn, the concepts of “shame” and “blame” are no longer relevant. You may even find yourself feeling grateful for the lesson.
Look for the “seed of good”. “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” ~ Napoleon Hill
Finding the good in failure and adversity is the hardest of these for me to do. But when you find it, the darkest problems can yield the greatest blessings. The “seed of good” is always there, if you believe it is. And when you believe it is there, you will do the soul-searching that is often required to find it.
Learn the lesson. When I first began driving, my car’s fuel gauge didn’t work. As a result, I frequently ran out of gas and was stranded on the side of the road. Did I learn from this adversity the first time it happened? Well, I was 16 and not aware of many of these principles. So, I ran out of gas again and again and again. Eventually, even I got the lesson and began putting gas in my car each time I drove it. I have never run out of gas since then. Adversity is a Teacher. What is the lesson your Teacher is bringing to you? If you don’t get it this time, you WILL get another lesson.
Step Up And Step Out
You are, right now, creating your future with your thoughts and actions. In order to change and grow, you must learn more than you know right now and be more than you are right now. Your opportunities to learn more and be more may be right in front of you, in the form of an adversity that you are facing. What will you do? You can let yourself be buried in feelings of self-pity, helplessness, and isolation, or you can shake it off and step up, out of the pit. Step up, step out, and step into the Excelerated Life!
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Identifying and accepting the things you are struggling with is one step in creating your Excelerated Life, a life of flourishing, of well-being, meaning, and purpose.
“What we do for ourselves can get us by. What we do for others is what gets us ahead.” ~ Dr Vincent Muli Kituku
Dooley, Mike. Infinite Possibilities: The Art Of Living Your Dreams. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2009
Robin, Vicki and Joe Dominguez. Your Money Or Your Life. New York: Penquin Books, 1992, 2008