Are the stumbling blocks we face curse or rather a blessing in disguise?
If you asked me several years ago I would say that I want a life without stumbling blocks, which is fluent and pleasurable. I believed that the so-called setbacks are staying on the way of my joy. I was trying to escape them at any price and I was thinking that this was a “smart” strategy.
Today, my perspective on stumbling blocks is a “little” bit different.
I truly believe that there is a hidden potential in them. I started shifting it because I saw a very negative tendency in myself, which was making me soft and extremely vulnerable to change and hardships.
The generations before were faced with many physical, mental and other types of stumbling blocks very early in their life. My mother often was telling me the story of how she (7 years old) and her siblings were working the whole summer on the field in order to help their mother, and they even weren’t paid for that. They had to wake up at 3 am and work till 5 pm almost every day. Sometimes those constraints would be as in the case of my mother that they had to start working at a very early age. Sometimes the reason was that the society itself was closed-minded and conservative. Another time was a war which would leave them without parents or place to live or serious economic depressions which would leave their family without work and money. The blessing in disguise though was that along the way of their fight with the obstacles they grew stronger and way more prepared for the world they would face afterward. Nowadays we learned to live a very fluent life with many things which are given to us from our parents, society and technological progress. Don’t get me wrong, I like all of these things because they make our lives easier, enjoyable and more productive, but just when we use them in the right way, as tools. What happens very often though is that these things make us slaves of the path of least resistance and when something even slightly difficult comes on the way we just decide to step back and hide watching Netflix or playing Facebook games.
That’s why I believe that the biggest stumbling block nowadays is that we grew softer than any generation before.
Today the most of the so-called outside obstacles are just excuses we come up with because we are not ready to take the responsibility for our lives. I am not saying that we should come back and have wars, incurable illnesses or economic depressions. It is not about the obstacles but rather is about what kind of people we come out of them.
We need to realize that exactly these stumbling blocks help us develop our willpower, persistence, diligence, patience, temperance and the other valuable virtues. We need to have these virtues as to our backbone when we face the inevitable adversities in our career, business, and relationships.
The good news is that if we can’t find these obstacles outside, we can look in the other direction - inside. We have these constraints in ourselves: destructive habits, made up fears, limiting believes and so on. The opportunity is here; the challenge is that we need to be proactive in it because no one will force us to do it.
Now the question comes, how could we be proactive?
In my opinion, the best way of being proactive is to stretch our comfort zone.
Let me share with you several ways, which we can go out of our comfort zone:
1. Talk to a stranger. 2. Have cold showers.
3. Sign up for cross fit.
4. Learn to listen to opposite points of view without judging them.
I know that some of these things sound too insignificant for some of you, but I believe that with small steps in our everyday life, we someday will do the big leap we are aiming for.