The challenges we face are not barriers

A time of change is bound to bring us challenges.

Sometimes, in frustration, we might wish those problems would go away. But in our work, the challenges we face are not a barrier to our job, they are our job: resolving them is what we are paid to do. And in our personal lives, the challenges we face are not a barrier to our growth, they are exactly the situations we can gain most from learning to handle: they show us our best current opportunity for personal growth. After all, the skills we have today all came from challenges we successfully negotiated in the past.

This means that the first step to addressing any challenge is to ask ourselves what is the opportunity this so-called ‘problem’ brings?

Just looking at ‘issues’ in this way makes us much more likely to create the outcomes we want. And when we look more closely we find that there are ten types of opportunity that every ‘problem’ might contain: either to recreate the world in the way we want it or to develop new skills. After all, every skill we have today comes from a ‘challenge’ we in successfully negotiated in the past. 

We are not just human beings we are human becomings. And we get to choose which opportunity we pursue, what we achieve, what we learn, and who we become.

And as Steve Jobs showed, the bigger the challenge seems to be, the bigger the opportunity for us actually is.

This is how we become antifragile.

What challenges are you currently facing? Do you see them as problems to make go away — or as opportunities towards helping you create what you most want in the world?

Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

You can sign up to daily posts here.

You can buy the book here and the workbook here.

(And remember: you don’t learn to swim by reading about swimming, you also need to practice.)

Photo By Neil Young via

Leave a Reply