Wisdom//

Why Obstacles Can Actually Be a Good Thing

Reframing how you think about them can change everything.

In his groundbreaking book, The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values, and Spiritual Growth, M. Scott Peck distills the importance of acknowledging the role obstacles play in our lives. On the very first page, he writes, “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult—once we truly understand and accept it—then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

I love that. Once you accept the fact that life is difficult, that fact no longer matters! You are freed from complaining and whining and wishing things were different. That acceptance opens up space in your life to just get on with tackling things and moving ahead. There’s no energy wasted after you accept that fact. All your energy, every ounce of it, can go into forward movement, instead of being used to keep you stalled and frustrated while you try to change reality.

Moving beyond your difficulties and growing from them must be part of your everyday existence. So many people believe that things should be easier than they actually are. They think that if something is hard, it means they should quit trying. My kids do this all the time. Let’s say they’re working on some specific move that’s really hard, and they just can’t nail it. “I suck. I can’t do this. I’m horrible.” You know what? None of that is true. They just haven’t practiced enough. What happens if they keep practicing? Well, they finally master the move, and it’s a huge boost to their confidence. If they quit, it essentially drives a stake in the ground topped with a big sign that says, “This is where you quit. You’re not good enough to go past this spot. Nice try, but you’re done now.”

That’s a real dream-killer.

Which would you rather do: Whine and quit, or acknowledge something is hard, tackle it anyway, get on with conquering it, and then move on to the next obstacle? I know which route I’d prefer. Since you’ve read this far, I think I know which route you’d prefer, as well.

Not everyone gets this. Even after coming to one of my events, sometimes people will make comments about that phrase the best. They’ll ask, “Well, what about second best?” They’re trying to hedge their bets. They’re looking for Plan B. But here’s the thing. Attempting to be the best is the most humbling thing there is. You have got to resolve any leftover issues you have around getting attention or fame. We do live in a world where fame and notoriety are really important, but I would much rather be the best than be famous. Those two are not the same things. So examine and let go of your need for attention. When you resolve it for real, watch how powerful you become; watch the acknowledgment and attention come. It’s a different kind of attention. It’s coming because you have your true power and you’re attracting a different quality of attention.


Don’t fear that it’s presumptuous that you’re going to be better than everyone else at doing this thing you do. It has nothing to do with other people. It’s not about you being better than other people. It’s not about dominating other people. It’s about dominating the space you’re in. It will free you up when you realize you can be the best in the world, but that doesn’t mean you have to be the biggest social media star along with it, run the biggest company of your field, or have the longest lines out the door. Your dream is to be the best at what you do and find the best players to be on your team with you. That’s it. Stay focused there. Declarations are a class, a way of being, and you can’t change that. After you fully commit to it, your declaration takes precedence over everything. It makes the decisions for you. And it is a self-righting mechanism. Remember, your declaration is the thing that rights the ship. It is a living thing, and it takes precedence over everything else. Put it in your head right now. Think of nothing else. You will be building a muscle over time where this sucker speaks for you. It calls every shot. Are you going to this party? Are you going to this movie night out with your friends? Are we going to eat this thing or drink that thing? It’s all no or yes based on your declaration. It starts making all your decisions, all your commitments, who you date or marry . . . it calls the shots. It is the filter.


Now, it’s mechanical at first, and you’re constantly checking in with your declaration, but as the years pass, you’ll find you’re just living this out automatically and gratefully. Certain things don’t go in your mouth, certain things do go in your mouth. You say certain things, you don’t say certain things. So if you’re, for instance, getting ready for a little gossip session, you just check in with your declaration. Is your declaration about, “Hey, I’m going to be number one at gossip!” or “I’m going to be the most critical person in the world”? That’s not a real life; that’s just a reaction. People who live like that are living off the scraps of real life. You made your declaration so it. could drive your life. Now stand back and let it do what
you created it to do.

Excerpted from There’s No Plan B for Your A-Game by Bo Eason with permission from the author and publisher.

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