Today we go back in time. To when our world was very different.
Think of this as home school for adults 🙂 A little history lesson.
In the year 170, at night in his tent on the front lines of the war in Germania, Marcus Aurelius, the last of the Five Good Emperors, sat down to write. He wrote one of history’s most effective formulas for overcoming every negative situation we may encounter in life. A formula for thriving not just in spite of whatever happens but because of it.
“Our actions may be impeded…but there can be no impeding our intentions or dispositions. Because we can accommodate and adapt. The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting.”
He concluded with powerful words:
“The impediment to action advances action.
What stands in the way becomes the way”
In Marcus’ words is the secret to an art known as turning obstacles upside down. To act with a “reverse clause,” so there is always a way out or another route to get to where you need to go.
In his own reign of 19 years, he would experience nearly constant war, a horrific plague, an attempt at the throne by one of his closest allies, arduous travel, a rapidly depleting treasury, and on and on and on.
He truly saw each and every one of these obstacles as an opportunity to practice some virtue: patience, courage, humility, resourcefulness, reason, justice, and creativity.
The power he held never seemed to go to his head – neither did the stress or burden.
We might not be emperors, but the world is still constantly testing us. It asks: Are you worthy? Can you get past the things that inevitably fall in your way? Will you stand up and show us what you’re made of?
The Way Through Obstacles
That’s All You Need.
Since World War II we have lived in some of the most prosperous times in history. Many of our problems come from having too much: technology, junk food, traditions that tell us the way we’re supposed to live our lives. We’re soft, entitled and scared of conflict. Great times are great softeners.
Abundance can be it’s own obstacle, as many people can attest.
Our generation needs an approach for overcoming obstacles and thriving amid chaos more than ever.
It could always be worse. We have no choice now but to find ways to be mentally strong. First and foremost for yourself – think of “putting your oxygen mask on first.” Second, for the ones around you – family, friends, mentorees, employees, students, colleagues, etc.
-Stephen Wickes, CSCS, Pn2
References: “The Obstacle is the Way” – Ryan Holiday