The Thursday Thesis - 01/09/2016
“Challenge is inevitable, defeat is optional”
I got excited about Steve’s long list of “problems”, but he wanted to give up on his dream.
He paused in his tale of woe, and said “You know, one day I’ll look back on this and laugh, but-“
“But why wait?” I cut in, “You don’t have any problems – you only have opportunities”.
Steve said that I’d completely missed the point: opportunities, indeed!
But what if you saw a problem as a gift, a challenge as a nudge, and a failure as a kindly whisper from a friend...
Everyone knows that a problem or twelve will show up when you’re doing something worth doing. But not everyone knows that it’s just life, checking whether you’re serious or not.
It’s not personal, and the Universe is not conspiring to stop you – honest!
I mean, come on - let’s have a sense of proportion, here - The Universe is way too big and too busy to be bothered with you and me: The Universe has better things to do.
So, what you do with your “Problem” is entirely up to you.
You can let it stop, stall or steer you.
Henry Ford believed that a failure was really an opportunity to more intelligently begin again; and Thomas Edison believed that there were no failures, only feedback.
My old boss told me to “fail fast, learn fast, fail better.”
Each “Problem” was a chance to eliminate what didn’t work, and to replace it with something that might work better, he said. Sooner or later I’d run out of ways to fail - all I’d have to do was keep trying, keep working on it.
And what I once thought of as problems became opportunities, dressed in working clothes.
A “Problem” is simply feedback we don’t like: it’s the inconvenience of reality intruding into our plans.
Our “Problem” is trying to tell us something, to help us by flagging us down and pointing out that what we’re currently doing isn’t working, suggesting that we take a better route.
“Problems” are friendly - but unwelcome - signposts, pointing out that we’re going the wrong way and trying to nudge us toward where we want to go.
Our “Big Problem” is The Real World stamping its foot and letting us know that it isn’t going along with our current plan - so we’d better wake up and smell the coffee, damn it!
The road to success is littered with obstacles, challenges and tests to eliminate those who are not serious. But those challenges and problems are only temporary, unless we mistake them for life’s final decision, and accept that it’s all over.
Defeat is one of many options available to us, but it is not the only option.
What’s your biggest opportunity to more intelligently begin again, armed with better information?
© Neil Cowmeadow 2016
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