In his book The Obstacle is the Way, author Ryan Holiday writes about the struggles we face in reaching our goals, and what is required of us when we face obstacles along the path to success. “All great victories, be they in politics, business, art, or seduction, involved resolving vexing problems with a potent cocktail of creativity, focus, and daring. When you have a goal, obstacles are actually teaching you how to get where you want to go — Carving you a path. ‘The things which hurt,’ Benjamin Franklin wrote, ‘instruct.’” Holiday wrote this message to show that facing our obstacles requires that we act deliberately and build creative processes into our lives. If we lack focus, do not develop interesting ways to view the world, and are afraid to push the boundaries of what we believe is possible, then we will never live up to fulfill the vision of success and creativity that Holiday describes.
In the first part of his book Holiday explains the ways in which we must change our perspective and our lifestyle if we want to be able to adapt to the obstacles and challenges we face. Simply living the same as everyone and looking for the easiest path will not help us reach a place were we feel truly successful and fulfilled. We may see others achieve tremendous results, and we may see others build new opportunities for themselves, but if we do not begin to look for creative ways to face our obstacles, we will not see opportunities to apply smart risks and novel solutions to new challenges.
Focusing on our challenges and building practices in our lives that help us think more creatively and become more considerate will allow us to absorb more from the world around us. We can become more thoughtful individuals, viewing the world and thinking about more perspectives than just our own, and we will see new paths forward. Learning from others and watching those around us overcome obstacles will help us see more possibilities in our own lives. Without building these skills through daily habits we won’t develop the creativity needed to adjust as we move through life, and we miss the opportunity to turn our challenges into forces which propel us.