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Have you ever noticed that when everything finally seems to be running smoothly, when everything finally seems to be working out, BOOM!, out of nowhere you come face to face with one of life's obstacles?
Why is that?
Why, when life is running smoothly, when things finally seem to have settled, that unexpectedly, completely out of the blue, you find yourself against a brick wall?
I have two possible reasons to share with you... which I'll do in a moment.
But first up, when life does throw you a curveball, let me ask you: "How do you usually react?"
Have you ever uttered the words, "why me?" or "why now?" or do you just wonder why life is so cruel, that every time you seem to get back on your feet and things are working out, that life pulls the rug from under you again.
If you're nodding your head or honestly saying 'yes' to any of this, let me assure you, you are not alone. These are the ways most people will react when life tosses a challenge their way.
It's rare to find someone hop, skip, jump and yelp "YIPPEEE!" when a challenge comes their way and yet that's exactly what we should be doing.
The thing is, challenges are hard and they can be painful. To overcome them we may have to take action, learn a new skill or trait, behave differently... change.
There's that dreaded word, "change".
Very few of us embrace change (especially change that we don't control) because it brings with it new things, sometimes discomfort, a need to adjust, effort, all things we tend not to happily embrace.
However, if you didn't experience challenges in life, what do you think would become of you?
Without life's many and varied challenges you'd find yourself sitting safe, sound and staying small in your comfort zone. As comfortable and cosy as that may be and may sound, nothing grows inside your comfort zone; the magic and miracles only happen outside your comfort zone.
And that's reason one, I believe, for challenges arising in our life and why we should embrace each and every challenge that crosses our path. When things are running smoothly, when life is sailing by and you're feeling set and comfortable, and then life throws you a curveball, a challenge to overcome, it's simply to help you grow, to help you become a better version of who you already are.
Life is nothing if we are not growing, changing, adapting, learning, achieving.
So when you're starting to get a little bit too comfortable seated on the cosy sofa in your warm comfort zone, before you turn into the inevitable couch potato, life gives you the kick up the proverbial you need and gently shoves you out of your comfort zone and into the zone of magic and miracles.
And by the way, when I say that it's life that's doing this, what I really mean is it's you, your subconscious. Because, after all, we create our own reality. No matter what many people claim or believe, you are not a victim of life.
Think about this again from a slightly different perspective. Let's bring a little emotion into the mix.
Think about the stages a child might go through with their parent when they're learning to ride a bike.
The first stage would be a tricycle close to the ground. It's stable and won't topple over so the child doesn't have to fear getting hurt. All that child needs to do is learn how to use their feet to turn the peddles and how to steer the handlebars so they don't go crashing into the wall ahead.
There may be a couple of mishaps where they bump into a wall because they haven't steered their bike away in time. However, after a little perseverence from the child and support from the parent, the child will quickly learn to ride their tricycle.
But it doesn't stop there, does it? I haven't seen any adults riding around on tricycles lately so there must be something more that happens.
The parent sees how much progress the child has made and know they can do even better. So, they encourage the child to move onto the next stage, the next challenge, to stretch themselves and become even more proficient in riding a bike.
Often the next stage is a short, close-to-the-ground, two-wheeler bike with no peddles.
The child sits on the bike and gets it to move forward by using their feet against the ground beneath them. However, because they don't have a third wheel which balances them, they need to learn how to balance and stay upright on their own, while moving forward and not crashing into the brick wall.
There may be a couple of times when they wibble and wobble and even fall over because learning how to balance and naturally find your centre of gravity isn't easy at first.
However, with some encouragement, they pick themselves us and try again.
And eventually, they're whizzing around the neighbourhood causing mayhem.
They've accomplished this stage of bike riding. They can go fast, they can possibly out-run their parent. However, this isn't the end.
Again, the parent sees potential so doesn't let them rest on their laurels. Rather the parent introduces them to the big kid bike; a bike which is bigger than before (so further to fall), that has brakes, handlebars and... stabilisers on either side of the back wheel.
Again, the child heads off, taking on this latest challenge to improve themselves. And, again, with effort, concentration, determination, and support from their parent, they succeed.
The final challenge the parent sets is supporting the child while they learn to ride their big kid bike without the stabilisers.
And once they achieve this, they gain some independence as they can head out on their bike to meet their friends, they can cycle to and from school... and so on.
Throughout all of this, how often do you hear a child moan and groan about how difficult life is? How often do you hear a child feel sorry for themselves and refuse to progress to the next stage of riding their bike?
The answer is never. Children don't see learning to ride their bike as a series of tough, life-is-out-to-get me challenges. They see it as exciting new adventures. And they embrace it.
Also, why do you think the parent pushes their child from one stage to the next until they can ride the big kid's bike?
It's out of love, isn't it?
No parent wants to see their child fall down and get hurt. However, by not encouraging the child to progress through each stage, rather stay in their comfort zone and never learning to ride even a tricycle, the parent isn't helping the child grow and become better. And that, in turn, could mean that the child grows up never knowing how to ride a two-wheel bike and, as an adult with so much more baggage and fear, struggles to ever learn.
Every time a challenge comes onto your path, you should embrace it and view it as an adventure, just like a child.
And every time a challenge comes onto your path, now that you know that you create your own reality and create/attract the challenges that come onto your path, you should be thanking yourself for loving you so much, for pushing you to become the very best possible version of you.
Do you now think you will better embrace and show gratitude towards the next challenge that comes onto your path? I hope so.
I mentioned earlier that I believe there are two reasons why, when life is running smoothly, when things finally seem to have settled, that unexpectedly, completely out of the blue, you find yourself against a brick wall. However, I think we've covered enough for one day. I'll leave reason two for another day...