The Only 2 Ways Obstacles Can Affect You

photo credit: jbojboru

photo credit: jbojboru

We are frequently bombarded about stories of conflict—unhealthy relationships, warring groups, and problems that seem impossible to solve. Yet there are also stories all around us that show us what it looks like to work through conflict to get to something better.

That’s one of the main themes of the book I’m writing. We can all grow more through facing changes, enduring conflict, and being in relationships that deeply influence us. My book includes a lot of stories about these things because that’s one of the best ways to learn: by observing someone else take the next step before we do.

I recently heard an amazing story about facing challenges with boldness.

Unwanted Limitations

Amy Purdy is a snowboarder who loves her active, athletic lifestyle. She was even recently a dancer on Dancing With The Stars. But something makes her unique, especially with all the things she likes to do: she has prosthetic legs.

When she was 19, Amy nearly died. [Her TED Talk and this NPR podcast interview share the details.] She suffered an unexpected infection that took several internal organs, her legs, and some of her hearing, but not her spirit. It was a harsh blow for someone in her situation because it threatened to take away the things she loved doing: being active, moving around, snowboarding and dreaming of what boundaries she could surpass next.

“I was absolutely physically and emotionally broken. But I knew that in order to move forward, I had to let go of the old Amy and learn to embrace the new Amy…And that is when a new chapter in my life began.” – Amy Purdy

She could let the overwhelming changes to her body stop the momentum of her life, or she could choose a new direction for herself.

“Our borders and our obstacles can only do two things. One: stop us in our tracks, or two: force us to get creative.”

Challenges Make Us Creative

Amy had prosthetic legs custom built so she could keep snowboarding. She didn’t stay comfortable, confined to a wheelchair.

She recovered more and more, and received a new kidney from her father a couple years later.

“Instead of looking at our challenges and our limitations as something negative or bad, we can begin to look at them as blessings—magnificent gifts that can be used to ignite our imaginations and help us go further than we ever knew we could go. It’s not about breaking down borders. It’s about pushing off of them and seeing what amazing places they might bring us.”

Amy has discovered something few of us realize but all of us need: challenges are good for us.

Obstacles show us the ways in which we need to grow or change.

Because of that, we shouldn’t try to avoid conflict or confronting a person or idea that hinders our momentum. We can accept the opposition and lean into it.

Our weaknesses point out how we can grow stronger. (tweet that)

When we shift our perspective from avoiding obstacles to welcoming them, we’re learning to embrace what will ultimately make us better.

And then we’ll be more prepared to face the next challenge, and the next, and the next.

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What’s one obstacle you’ve faced that changed you for the better? Share your comments below.

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Learn more about the book I’m writing, which explores facing challenges and growing through unexpected obstacles. You can get free email updates by signing up here.

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