Obstacles Are Necessary
A few weeks ago, I sat near a friend as she took her Driver's Ed training online. I was just there for moral support. She had to watch an 8-minute video about the consequences of drinking and driving and then answer a question about the video at the end.
Listening intently, she did her very best to soak in every single word the speakers said. She wanted to get the question right.
When the video ended, the long-awaited questions appeared on the screen.
"What was the name of the first speaker?"
I looked up from my work. I'm sorry... what?
My friend looked at me, obviously confused as well.
Slightly annoyed, I said, "ARE YOU SERIOUS? That’s what they're asking you?" She obviously didn't know the answer (who would?), so she had to guess.
Because she couldn't move on until she answered the question correctly, the video restarted.
Eight minutes later, a new question appeared.
"True or false: the speaker was wearing a blue jacket."
I rolled my eyes and thought to myself, This is what life often feels like... we watch an 8-minute video about drinking and driving so we can get our driver's license and then they ask us what color jacket the speaker was wearing.
Following our dreams is extremely difficult and the journey rarely makes sense. Day in and day out, we pour every ounce of ourselves into this dream, doing our very best to make things happen. Just when we think we're (finally) getting somewhere, life throws us a curveball and we find ourselves back at square one.
I'm pursuing a career in motivational speaking while also working to create an income blogging. My goal is to make a living doing both as I work toward my ultimate dream of being a talk show host. Because I needed to have a steady income while simultaneously keeping speaking and blogging as my main focus, I got my insurance license. The plan was do this for three years which would be ample time for me to really get things going.
But, as always, plans change. I’m currently jobless and unsure as to what my next step "should" be. I’m only making $.23/month blogging and I’ve done everything by the book. My speaking engagements doubled in 2016. As for this year, however, I've only spoken once and have no upcoming paid speaking engagements... and it's already March. My only income is from selling t-shirts on my website and babysitting/dog-sitting.
What am I supposed to do? How am I going to make (and save!) money while still following my dreams? Am I supposed to pursue an entirely different dream of mine for this season of my life? It's tempting. Very tempting.
When we're following a dream, our dream, at times it feels every force of nature is against us. It feels as if the world doesn't want us to succeed and, in a sense, it feels as if maybe we're not meant to succeed.
But that could not be further from the truth.
The road is full of twists, turns, forks, potholes, detours, construction, speed bumps, and traffic jams. If we could see the journey in its entirety, we wouldn't dare choose it. We would take one look at what it's going to take to achieve our dreams and we'd walk in the opposite direction.
Upon graduating college, everybody tells us life is hard, but very few people tell us obstacles are a necessary part of the journey. At the time, it seems unfair. We roll our eyes to the back of our head and think, Are you serious? Is this necessary?
The last thing we want to do is start from scratch and do something again because our best effort wasn't good enough.
When the absurdity of life's demands are too much, we discover what we're made of. Challenges and frustrations are meant to wean off the weak.
Therefore, before the journey ever begins, a decision has to be made. We have to decide whether or not we're willing to miss, what appears to be, an irrelevant question and watch the video again. Are we willing to watch the video a second time? A third? Fourth? Even though there's a chance we won't be able to answer the question correctly?
If we are serious about following our dreams, our answer has to be yes. No ifs, ands, or buts.
To say I’m confused and unsure of what lies ahead for me is an understatement. I had everything "planned out" and now it seems I'm walking backwards. This is not what I had in mind. I’m overwhelmed, I'm frustrated, and I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but I’m walking in that direction anyway because I committed myself to this journey long before I knew what obstacles lay ahead. These are my gifts, this is my passion, and I intend to show the world what I’m made of.
There's no way of knowing how it's all going to work out but we have to keep going and try again. If we quit now, we'll never see results. We'll never see what's waiting on the other side. But if we keep going, we'll come to find that maybe, just maybe, having to watch the video a second (or third) time wasn't pointless. It was necessary. We learned a few things we had missed the first time and are now better equipped for what lies ahead.
Every obstacle we face, whether it seems unfair or not, is a teaching moment. We can pout and complain about our circumstances or we can accept them as they are and use them for our benefit.
Life is hard but obstacles are a necessary part of the journey, so brace for impact.
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