The challenges we face are not barriers

This time of change is bound to bring us challenges. And sometimes, in frustration, we might wish that they 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 how to handle today: they show us our best current opportunity for personal growth.

Every skill we have today has come from some challenge we faced in the past. So the first step to addressing any challenge we face today is to ask ourselves what is the opportunity this so-called ‘problem’ brings?

Simply looking at challenges this way will make us much more likely to create the outcomes we want. And as we look more closely we will find that there are ten types of opportunity in any situation.

We are not just human beings we are human becomings. And we get to choose who we become. The way we do this is by choosing how we respond to the challenges that come our way: what opportunities we convert them into, what new skills we develop, and what new outcomes we create. As Steve Jobs showed, the bigger the challenge, the bigger the opportunity.

And each step we take in transforming the challenges we face into opportunities is another step to becoming antifragile.

What challenges are you currently facing? Do you see them as ‘problems’ you want to go away — or as opportunities that are helping you to become clearer about what you most want in the world and more able and more inspired to create that?

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 just by reading about swimming, you also need to do the practice.)

Photo By Neil Young via

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