Obstacles or opportunities – it’s all in the lens

In the last few days, I have received notice that it is now time for another eye examination.  Many of you have experienced those examinations where they have you look through different lenses to see which one provides you with the most accurate vision.  The right lens is the key to clarity and vision.  

The comparison to experiencing life is so applicable.  We all face challenges and difficult times in life, but how we view those issues makes a great deal of difference in how we experience life.  Do we see just the obstacle, or do we see it also as an opportunity?  If we focus on just the obstacle in our life, we can easily get overwhelmed, frustrated, or depressed.  Rather, if we can see the issue as an opportunity, we can approach the matter with energy, optimism, and patience.  The “lens” through which we view life makes all the difference in the world.

The key to having the right “lens” in place when we face financial struggles, health concerns, relationship challenges, job problems, or any other number of potential obstacles in our lives is a focus beyond ourselves.   A “lens” that just focuses on the negative aspect of the obstacle or remains fixated on the potential negative outcomes for us personally will lead us down a very challenging road.  A “lens” that can help us recognize the obstacle but see beyond the obstacle to the opportunity toward others will enable us to face the same obstacle with a different approach.  

If we are going to accomplish anything extraordinary, we are likely going to have to overcome some obstacle.  Obstacles in our life oftentimes present opportunities to overcome, to persevere, to find new ways, and to make a difference in some manner.  Obstacles become opportunities when we look beyond the issue to what can be accomplished not only by overcoming but also by walking through the challenge.  We may never know the impact we have on others watching us as we take on the challenges of life.

Ironically, as I write this article, I am preparing for a Spartan Race on April 1st.  This race is comprised of a lot of running up hills and stairs with twenty obstacles along the path.  The obstacles are comprised of various physical challenges that I have no idea whether I can do all of them or not.  Either way, what an opportunity for someone my age to embrace this challenge.  I am not just taking on this challenge and these obstacles for me, but rather for all of us that passed on opportunities earlier in life because the obstacles appeared too steep.  So if any of you reading this article have insights on how to get over a 7 foot wall, climb a 12 foot rope, or maneuver across 20 feet of monkey bars, among other obstacles, reach out to me at doug.strickel@gmail.com.  In some symbolic way, we can see these obstacles as opportunities and provide us a framework for those more significant obstacles that life will pose!

Obstacles in life will come.  How we view them doesn’t change the significance nor make them disappear.  However, if we can view these obstacles as opportunities as well, we can find purpose, motivation, and perspective.  What obstacles are you facing that can be opportunities?