Minimize Difficulties and They Really Will Shrink

Here is the key sentence for life: Our attitude toward difficulties, challenges and tasks in our lives is what determines how much space they take up from our emotional energy, thoughts and worries. If we amplify the difficulties in our lives, they will grow to much grander proportions than what they really are. If we treat them lightly, they will be light.

Easier said than done – but this is the challenge of our complex, 21st century lives. If we don’t treat life with ease, our lives will look as though we’re constantly swimming upstream. A subjective view of life is what determines how the body and mind respond to difficulties, pressures and effort. Meaning, it is a choice.

The body responds directly to the mind. It notices our stress and warning signs, vigilance, fear and tension. We all wear down the power of our bodies and weaken its energy and our life fuse.

We better adopt the famous statement of Winston Churchill, Former Prime Minister of Britain: “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity, the optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

This is the essence of life on earth: it is made of thousands of puzzle pieces, some of which we will have a hard time piecing together in the picture of our lives and will try to get rid of, but without them, the picture will be incomplete. Life cannot only consist of easy tasks. If so – starting today – Let us accept with love and understanding the different setbacks in our lives, the small mishaps and the occasional tiresome routine. Let’s change our terminology and see these difficulties as challenges, tests we must pass. These are essential hurdles, which strengthen our ability to cope, our resilience, our patience and our human endurance. It is a process of ongoing learning. It is how we grow.

Greg Anderson, former US basketball player, said: “Focus on the journey not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.”

Recently, we went through the exhausting process of moving homes. There are not enough words to describe the setbacks, countless mishaps and disappointments we encountered along the way. But the moment we decided to accept everything with love, the process became more tolerable and less aggravating. I won’t lie, sometimes we had to remind ourselves not to get angry, that this is the price we must pay for the apartment of our dreams. That said, the process was infinitely easier thanks to the decision we made to treat the matter with forgiveness and patience. And indeed, this patience paid off.

This story brings me to the topic of shortcuts in life. The long road we take in order to reach our goals in life – personal, professional and family goals, – is always paved with great effort and by recruiting our mental, physical and financial powers. And yet, there is no other way. Achievements come always as a result of deep digging, great effort and investment, and this is the lesson we must give our children.

Thomas Alva Edison, who registered a record number of patents in the world (1,093!) and whose light bulb invention is considered his greatest accomplishment, once said: “I’ve not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work. Every failed attempt is another step forward.”[1]  And he knew what he was talking about. He carried out over 1000 failed attempts in order to reach the functioning light bulb, but he did not see it as a failure, but an experiment, a way of learning in order to reach a better result in the future.

Would you like some encouraging examples? Here:

* Albert Einstein, one of the greatest physicists of all times and father of the theory of relativity, had a difficult time learning, speaking and writing. He finished his studies with relatively low grades and had a hard time finding a job. While working as an examiner at a patent office in Bern, he dedicated much of his time to research in physics, which turned into four famous articles that were published in 1905 and changed physics and the way we understand the world.

*The writer J.K Rowling spent six years writing the first “Harry Potter” book, and was supported by welfare during those years. She proposed her book to twelve book publishers and was rejected by them all, until she finally managed to publish the book and the rest is history.

* Oprah Winfrey, the famous TV host, was born to impoverished parents in the state of Mississippi, and then grew up in several foster homes. Later on, she arrived at a boarding school that she also had to leave due to lack of beds. At 19, she began reporting on a local Tennessee news channel, and from there her career as a journalist and actress took off.

No doubt all these examples feature people with innate talent. However, without the effort and determination to achieve their goals, they never would have reached the top.

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Let’s remember: the ability to invest effort and deal with countless disappointments and failures (which should be called unsuccessful experiments) on the way, is what will lead us to achieving the goals that we set. Our feelings of capability and our willingness to invest are the deciding factors.


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