The challenges we face are not barriers

A time of change can bring us many 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 that we can gain most by learning to handle: they show us our current opportunity for personal growth.

So the first step to addressing these challenges is to see each ‘problem’ as an opportunity: the bigger the challenge, the bigger the opportunity.

When we approach issues as opportunities in this way then we become more likely to create an outcome that is better than we had before. And sometimes we’ll discover that we’d rather go and work on something else instead — something that we care about more. That’s OK too. As Steve Jobs showed, the ultimate opportunity in any challenging situation is to use it to find what you truly love.

The bottom line is this: we are not just human beings we are human becomings. We don’t grow when things are easy: we grow when we face and overcome challenges. And when we’ve learned how to do this as a skill in itself then we become antifragile.

What challenges are you currently facing? Do you see them as problems, or as opportunities to help create what you most want in the world and become who you most want to become?

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

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

Photo By Neil Young via

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