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The benefit of challenges

There’s no doubt that it’s been a challenging year for most, as people try to balance life, work and the new normal. And given the long haul that 2020 has been, even the smallest obstacles can seem insurmountable. Sometimes in order to move forward we have to stop. Breathe. And look at things from a different perspective. Sometimes it’s good to realise that encountering obstacles is not a setback but an opportunity to learn something new, to do something differently and discover things about yourself you haven’t before.


“What’s in the way, is the way.”


It’s natural to wish obstacles away, to hope that somehow we can avoid them, especially when you’re tired and stressed, however the best route is to work through the obstacles. The process can teach us so much and make us stronger and better equipped for the future. An easy life isn’t something we should wish for – although it’s a perfectly understandable desire after the year of 2020. The reality is that life isn’t easy not matter how we feel. The best we can do is equip ourselves for the challenges ahead. And that means facing obstacles head-on and embracing the learning experience they’re offering.


Your response makes all the difference


You can’t always control what happens to you or what circumstances present themselves in your life, but you can choose how you respond to them. So instead of stressing about what you can’t control, focus on what you can. Natural reactions to obstacles include fear, frustration, confusion and helplessness, even anger. Sometimes the worry is so overwhelming, that even when we know what we could or should do we still feel completely paralysed. Or because we don’t know what or next step should be we don’t do anything at all.


Yet as much as that is the natural reaction for most people, there are still others that don’t seem to break stride when faced with challenges. If anything they seem to be even more motivated and energized by the prospect of moving forward. Instead of holding them back, challenges seem to become launch pads that propel them forward to greater success. The question is: What do they do differently?


Assess and apply


Take a moment to consider about what is different about how they think, how they respond, how they behave and what actions they take. You can be almost certain paralysis doesn’t factor into it. Even when they have concerns, it doesn’t slow them down. They apply a mind mastery that helps them push through. They exercise control over what they can – their mind and emotions. And that empowers them to take action with a positive perspective.


Positivity is about more than feeling good


Past experiences can cloud our perspective. If something negative has happened in the past, our minds reference that and it can become an entrenched belief. If we want to change our perspective it means exploring, understanding and changing those beliefs. Reframing the situation we find ourselves in and asking the questions: could there be something to learn from this, is there a benefit that I’m not yet aware of?


Often we look at a situation in an immediate context and respond emotionally. So the fear or anger drives our response instead of rational thinking. When we pause and start to think through the situation we may realise that the obstacle isn’t as huge and daunting as it first appeared. And that instead of being something negative happening to us, there may be a real benefit.


Maintaining a future outlook


2020 has been a hard year for most, and we can’t wait for it to be over. We hope fervently that 2021 will be better, a year with not quite as many life changing events. Maintaining a future outlook is a good thing, but we shouldn’t just be wishing for a life that is better than bad, because perhaps it hasn’t been all bad after all. Perhaps there’s a real benefit to what we’ve experienced. So as the year winds down take the time to reflect and appreciate all that you’ve weathered this year. You may surprise yourself by how much you’ve learned and how much you have to be grateful for.

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When a problem is a gift


What good is a goal?


Do you wish for a new future?



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