“It’s the rough side of the mountain that’s the easiest to climb. The smooth side doesn’t have anything for you to hang on to.”

“It’s the rough side of the mountain that’s the easiest to climb. The smooth side doesn’t have anything for you to hang on to.”

—Aretha Franklin, Queen of Soul

Image from Unsplash by yns_pit

Have you ever tried rock climbing or one of the climbing walls at your local gym?

If you have, you may have noticed that the wall faces with far more foot and hand holds make the journey upward easier and faster.

Consider how life can be like that. By looking at the rough patches and bumps in the road as teachable moments, you have many more foot holds to push off from in your upward and onward climb.

EXERCISE:

Where and how can you be more appreciative of the rough patches of life, knowing they have helped you achieve far more than times of smooth sailing?

Consider taking a look at your current personal and professional rough patches to shift your view of things a bit.

“All beginnings are difficult.”

“All beginnings are difficult.”

—Rabbinic maxim

Image from Unsplash by Jon Tyson

Letting today’s quote really sink in can change your life.

Can you recall how many times, personally or professionally, you were reluctant to begin an activity or stopped your efforts too soon because your initial steps were awkward or challenging?

In such cases, we could consider the Biblical story of Job and his statement, “Man was born to toil.”

Going beyond any initial discomfort is fundamental to being productive and to the essential need for each of us to contribute and have a life of purpose.

EXERCISE:

Where and on what current matter would acknowledging that all beginnings are difficult provide you the needed courage, tenacity, and persistence to toil on to more fully realize your fullest potential and contribution to the world?

“What is the cost of getting it wrong? What are the payoffs of getting it right?”

“What is the cost of getting it wrong? What are the payoffs of getting it right?”

—Author Unknown

Image from commons.wikimedia.org

Are you a fan of Bill Gates? If you are—and even if you aren’t—please consider watching the new Netflix docu-series Inside Bill’s Brain. Among the many twists and turns in his personal and professional life is a unifying fact. Bill is a highly intelligent, life-long learner who wants to continue to make a positive difference with his life and the foundation he runs with his wife Melinda.

Highlighted in this series are his initiatives to eradicate polio, improve sewage conditions in developing countries, and the development of a cleaner, safer form of nuclear power.

Despite many challenges and setbacks faced on such monumental projects, he is clearly focused on the global payoffs of getting it right.

EXERCISE:

What is one significant project you have yet to start due to the fear of getting it wrong? What would be the payoff of getting it right?

Friday Review of Posts on Challenges

Friday Review: Challenges

How do you perceive and react to challenges in your life? Here are a few challenge-related posts you may have missed. Click the links to read the messages.

 

“Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.”

 

 

 

 

“The tests of life are not meant to break you, but to make you.”

 

 

 

 

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out. It’s the pebble in your shoe.”

 

 

 

Obstacles in your path

“There are plenty of obstacles in your path. Don’t allow yourself to become one of them.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a locked fence

Image from Unsplash by Jason Blackeye

The TV show, Running Wild with Bear Grylls, comes to mind when I think about today’s quote.

In this show, famed adventurist and survivalist Bear Grylls takes top stars from the entertainment and sports worlds into the most remote and pristine locations in the world for a 48-hour journey of a lifetime.

Cast members face their deepest fears and tackle everything from wild animals to rock rappelling through some of the world’s most unforgiving wilderness.

We all face a wide variety of daily external obstacles that fall short of these life-threatening challenges. We also create many internal challenges that stop us in our tracks, as abruptly as if our lives were on the line.

EXERCISE:

Where are you currently your own worst enemy, or putting up your own internal barriers? What one courageous action can you take today to create a breakthrough in this area?

Grow through what you go through

“Grow through what you go through.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a plant coming through cement

Image from Unsplash by Stas Ovsky

Compared to traditional school, life is a paradox. It gives you the test first, before you learn the lesson.

What are some of the most difficult things you have gone through in your life? You know – the things that challenged you physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually?

Take a moment to actually picture yourself before that experience, and look again at your capabilities today.

What time in your life are these memories from? To what degree have you experienced these tests and challenges professionally or personally in the past year?

EXERCISE:

Regardless of whether challenges seem to find you or you initiate your own life-stretching circumstances, how can you more fully acknowledge and appreciate more of these growth opportunities?

Take The Oars

“If the wind will not serve, take the oars.”

—Latin Proverb

Image of oars


Image from Flickr by Sarah Brabazon

Have you ever been sailing, wind surfing, flown a kite, or even played golf on a breezy day?

What was it like in terms of your progress and level of success when the wind was at your back?

It’s pretty great when we get an assist to help us on our journey!

All to often, however, life doesn’t provide the winds that serve us, and in some cases, the headwinds of life come directly at us to thwart our efforts.

EXERCISE:

Where and on what personal or professional issue is it time to “take the oars” and do the difficult and challenging work that will get you where you wish to go?

Body and Soul Need New Challenges

“Body and soul need new challenges.”

—Paulo Coelho, Warrior of the Light: A Manual

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Use it or Lose it!” As a former science teacher, this reminds me of the concept of entropy, which points to how things decay or fall apart if energy is not added to the system.

New challenges are tests that bring forth the efforts and energies to tackle them. It is through such exertions that we grow, and bring order to our lives.

EXERCISE:

What challenges are you currently rising to in your personal and professional worlds?

How can you initiate and proactively take on new challenges to improve your life in body and soul?

A Strong Foe

“A strong foe is better than a weak friend.”

—Edward Dahlberg, 20th Century American Novelist

Image of The Joker from Batman

Image from tomztoyz.blogspot.com

Most of us have heard the idea that we are a product of the five people with which we associate the most.

If these individuals happen to be weak friends, we may wish to make a few adjustments.

Unfortunately, weakness in those around us often causes us to become complacent and even a bit lazy, given that the bar of success is relatively low.

Strong foes and even adversaries challenge us to rise to compete with ourselves, if not them, to become a far better version of ourselves.

EXERCISE:

How can you use the example of your most challenging foe to thrive and grow, professionally and personally? How can and will you surround yourself with a much stronger set of friends to support your efforts?

The Right Path is Not the Easiest

“Sometimes the right path is not the easiest one.”

—Grandmother Willow, in Disney’s Pocahontas

Image of Pocahontas with Grandmother Willow

Image from The Disney Diva

Take a few minutes to go back in time to your high school and college years.

Identify the teacher and the course that made the biggest difference.

I’ll bet that in many cases the lessons learned or the impact gained still influences your life today.

What was the level of effort required to excel and achieve the benefits?

How significantly were you challenged to go beyond the path of least resistance and conventional thinking, to reap the reward you experience to this day?

EXERCISE:

Where in your personal or professional world are you taking the easy path that just doesn’t feel right?

Where would summoning your courage, boldness, persistence, and tenacity on a path you know is right make all the difference to your future success and happiness?