Thank goodness for obstacles

Scott McDermott talks about the inevitability of obstacles in life.

Thank goodness for obstacles.

You probably think I’ve lost my mind. Well – I did smash my head pretty good in 2015, but that is actually what I am on about. That incident created some pretty big obstacles in my life, and like I am known to say, it’s not that life hands you one challenge, it’s that it hands you a dozen.

That is what makes it hard. At the start of 2016, when everything was layer upon layer of challenges, I was excited. At one point in our Rotary Club meeting I stated during the happy/sad part of the meeting that I was happy for the recession. I got a few odd looks, but the truth is, I was not happy about the crazy level of difficulties and the horrible level of consequences we were all facing – rather, I was happy about who I would become once I got through it all.

You see, I am thankful for obstacles. They make me grow.

When I sign up for a big race, especially one that is bigger and harder than I have ever attempted, I get really excited! I get excited about who I will need to become in order to complete this task. In short, I create obstacles for myself…on purpose. Perhaps we are back to that part where you think I have lost my mind…

Think about it, though. Think of the biggest challenges you have ever faced and gotten through. I am willing to bet that you are stronger for it. Don’t get me wrong, if I had to do it over again, I would slow down before that bridge in the rain and avoid all this damage.

And then again…I have learned so much from all of this, and been absolutely forced to learn new ways to do things and new ways to overcome so many of the consequences.

As a business owner, this latest recession has made us run leaner, spend less on things we didn’t need and figure out new ways to do a better job, so that we kept our precious members and best staff with us through the toughest times. Not much fun to go through, but what a gift!

Getting fit is exactly like this! It is literally this simple: We consistently lift things that are too heavy and the body adapts to become stronger. We consistently attempt movements that are difficult, in a safe and controlled way, and the brain re-wires, the muscles grow, and the ligaments adapt until we can do the new movement. That is exactly how our body and our mind were designed. To grow, adapt and overcome.

We write tests in school or at new courses we take as adults so that we can put some pressure on our mind to adapt. We create an obstacle so that we can learn to overcome it.

The worst thing that can happen to a person is a lack of obstacles. A lack of problems can make us soft, entitled and scared of conflict. Sitting on the couch, or at a desk all day, every day, with no challenges will make all of your muscles soft and weak. You will reduce bloodflow to your brain, and reduce the effectiveness of every bodily function, from your reflexes, to your digestive system. Any physical problem or challenge that comes before you becomes insurmountable.

By contrast, when you push your body through physical effort on a daily basis, it becomes stronger and stronger (at any age). You become ready for anything life puts in front of you and reap the rewards of overcoming obstacles.

So the next time an obstacle comes up – breathe, relax, stay calm and think about how much more awesome you will be once this obstacle has been conquered and is behind you…Then figure out how to make that happen.

Happy Training!


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