All creativity and dedication aside, after we’ve tried, some obstacles may turn out to be impossible to overcome. Some actions are rendered impossible, some paths impassable. Some things are bigger than us. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Because we can turn that obstacle upside down, too, simply by using it as an opportunity to practice some other virtue or skill—even if it is just learning to accept that bad things happen, or practicing humility. It’s an infinitely elastic formula: In every situation, that which blocks our path actually presents a new path with a new part of us. If someone you love hurts you, there is a chance to practice forgiveness. If your business fails, now you can practice acceptance. If there is nothing else you can do for yourself, at least you can try to help others. Problems, as Duke Ellington once said, are a chance for us to do our best. Just our best, that’s it. Not the impossible. We must be willing to roll the dice and lose.
We have it within us to be the type of people who try to get things done, try with everything we’ve got and, whatever verdict comes in, are ready to accept it instantly and move on to whatever is next.
The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph