May 10

Today's quotation:

Stand up to your obstacles and do something
about them.  You will find that they haven't
half the strength you think they have.

Norman Vincent Peale

Today's Meditation:

In my experience, I find that most people give far more power to the obstacles in their lives than they really deserve.  These obstacles may seem to be overwhelming before we actually start dealing with them, but once we start to confront them, they're usually not that bad at once.

Once when I was in the Army Reserves, a small group of us was ordered to clear the snow from an area of the motorpool.  One sergeant objected strongly, saying that there was so much snow that it was an impossible task.  He kept up the argument for a good ten minutes, saying that we would be wasting our time and effort on an impossible task.  An order is an order, though, and we went out to shovel snow (I was looking forward to the fresh air, so it was fine with me whether it was an impossible task or not).  Within half an hour, we had completely cleared the area.

The impossibility of the task had been created in this man's mind--the task itself wasn't nearly as daunting as he had built it up to be.  All he had to do was actually stand up to the task--start on it and stick with it until it was done--and he found that the task wasn't nearly as difficult as his mind told him it was.

Personally, I enjoy obstacles--they challenge me to think in different ways in order to accomplish a given task.  To me, the harder the better, and even if I don't accomplish something, at least I'll give it my best effort and learn something valuable in the process.  If I defeat myself before I even start by giving the obstacle too much strength, though, I'll get little to nothing from my efforts.

Questions to consider:

How do you see obstacles in your life?  Are they helpful to you?

Why do we sometimes feel that obstacles are more difficult than they truly are?

Why is it sometimes difficult to get started on facing obstacles?

For further thought:

One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles
possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity.

Albert Schweitzer


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