“A person of character finds a special attractiveness in difficulty since it is only by coming to grips with difficulty that we can realize our potentialities.” ~ Charles de Gaulle …
Perhaps we might find it difficult to believe that someone might find difficulty attractive in any way, shape, or form. Yet here we are presented with another positive and healthy idea on perspective and attitude: that with the right amount of both of these in our lives we can face our difficulties with a bit of want, for they bring to us opportunities that we may only realize by facing our trials and hardships head-on and overcoming them.
I really love to look at our lives as a puzzle; so much of our experience here really comes down to noticing how all things are pieces of it–part of the bigger picture–and without them, we are incomplete. Everything we face in life has something important to offer us and instill in us; everything has the power to change us in positive and necessary ways. We are full of potential–of chances and opportunities to grow into the people we were meant to be when we were created; and it is truly only through the challenges we are faced with that we find this growth.
Unfortunately, we will not be successful in every challenge and difficulty we are faced with in life… and that is ok. We do not need to win every battle to learn and grow from them. By the mere act of facing the challenges to the best of our abilities–with equanimity and balance, purpose and calmness–we become stronger, wiser, and better individuals.
And although, personally, I do not always handle the challenges that come my way, as best I know how, I do believe that I have discovered a deeper understanding of my potentials during those difficult and demanding times. Over the course of my life, there have been challenges that I have searched out–pursuing my dream of being top in my chosen field, gaining my black belt in taekwondo, adding more professional feathers to my cap, growing my respective business ventures. A part of me, I think, had known that in accepting and embracing these challenges, I would grow into the person I needed to become by rising through them, and that the character I developed would make later difficulties and challenges in my life seem much easier to deal with. So some of the things others see as difficulties, I see as much simpler challenges, having faced some extreme obstacles in my life already.
How do we view the difficulties we are faced with? Do we see them as terrible obstacles, and perhaps even as impossibilities, or do we understand them as wonderful opportunities that are necessary for the growth, understanding, and development of our character? Do we try to avoid the challenges in life because they are unpleasant or seem like an inconvenience? Who we become is dependent upon the choices we make each day–big or small, pleasant or unpleasant. And it is only through coming to accept the difficulties of life that we will be able to reach our full potential and become whole.
Find opportunity in the difficulties of the day.
Questions to consider:
What kinds of challenges do you tend to avoid? Why do you avoid them? Is it helpful to you not to face them?
How can we build our character by facing difficulty? How can we recognize when the difficulty is worth facing and when it is better to avoid it?
What does it mean to be a “person of character”? What kinds of things does a person of character seek out in life that may be different from the things that other people seek out?
For further thought:
“There may be difficulty at the moment, but I will not lose the Virtue that I possess. It is when the ice and snow are on them that we see the strength of the cypress and the pine. I am grateful for this trouble around me, because it gives me an opportunity to realize how fortunate I am.” ~ Chuang-tse