Encountering challenges is an evitable part of one’s life journey. How we approach this process affects both the experience of existing within the challenging situation, and our resulting quality of life once we move beyond it. Of course, one can choose to merely cope–tread water, if you will–or one can accept the challenge head-on, and approach it strategically with informed determination.
The first step to an empowered approach to encountering challenges is the acknowledge the obstacle. Obstacles range in intensity–perhaps an athlete pulls a muscle, or a musician’s instrument falls out of tune–or perhaps a major investor withdraws from a project, or a life partnership dissolves. These challenges test our willpower for success. By throwing a wrench in our plans, obstacles present us with an important choice: do we grow in flexibility and capability, or do we wither at the touch of difficulty? For that matter, without obstacles, how can we be forced out of our comfort zone? Challenge, though it may present itself in an ugly way, can itself be a beautiful and valuable experience. We all need to grow–we are all here on Earth to grow and evolve. Accepting the inevitability and necessity of obstacles in life is the first step to overcoming them.
Once we find ourselves in a difficult situation, we must engage our powers of observation. If we allow the obstacle to overtake us, we will become absorbed by the problem, as if trapped in a whirlpool. If we are able to step outside the immediate difficulty and examine it from the outside, we can find our footing faster to deal with whatever has come up. It is like climbing a set of stairs: we must pull our vision slightly back from each step in order to more accurately assess the height and depth required to move our feet in order to ascend further. You can ask yourself: if this problem were happening to a dear friend or loved one, how would I want to support her? How could I help her analyze the situation, and brainstorm solutions? Treat your situation with as much objectivity as you can muster, and you will find yourself able to stay calm and collected.
Finally, we must always commit ourselves to achieving order of the highest degree. When we put ourselves, our habits, our homes in order, we inevitably also help put society in order. Do what you can to maintain order in your physical and spiritual environments. If you, at least in theory, enjoy a regular prayer or meditation practice, there is no better time to recommit yourself to the sacred repetition of this habit. Or perhaps you need to exercise on a daily basis–a quick jog around the block might be all it takes to help maintain a sense of order and control in your daily life that gives you a sturdy baseline to fall back on. When everything else seems unpredictable, at least you can make certain choices to reaffirm your commitment to seeking and contributing to beauty and positivity in the universe.
When we encounter obstacles in life, then observe and assess from a calm mindset, keeping ourselves in order becomes all the easier. When we maintain order and balance, the obstacles we encounter will decrease in number and perceived severity. As we grow from each experience of handling challenges, we can thus strengthen our response protocol. Challenges become gifts life gives us to help us grow.