Late last night I was at the gym working on my shoulders and pondering an interesting aspect of weight lifting.

In weight lifting, you work and work to overcome a plateau, a particular weight barrier, only to be immediately confronted with another one. And no sooner have you overcome that, when you hit yet another.

In weight lifting, that’s the whole point—to slowly increase your strength by forcing yourself to overcome a never-ending succession of barriers. That’s how you build muscle. That’s how you get stronger. And you go into it with that understanding.

It’s no different with life. You’re never going to reach a point where suddenly you stop encountering barriers. It’s just not going to happen. You’ll no sooner overcome one then you’ll find that there’s another one just waiting for you.

But by overcoming a continuous succession of barriers in life we become stronger emotionally, mentally, spiritually, socially, and often physically. As I describe in my post “The importance of opposition,” without this pattern of barriers, we would be a completely incompetent people.

So we can stop being riveted on the barrier in front of us, stop complaining about how hard it might be, stop being intimidated and held back by the perspective that there’ll be more. Whether in life, in business, or in anything else, each barrier we face is an opportunity to perfect the talent of barrier-busting, leaving us continually more capable and more prepared for what life may bring in the future.

One who avidly avoids obstacles robs themselves of that growth, ensuring their inevitable failure when life deals a substantial blow.

Like a weight lifter, if we approach life with that understanding, our obstacles gain perspective. It’s easier to persevere and sustain hope through adversity. We begin to see things differently and realize that obstacles are opportunities.


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