"Roadblocks always seem to pop up.
How can you plan for these barriers that will inevitably thwart your plans?"
I have been a longtime follower of Epictetus, a Greek slave turned philosopher and leader who found freedom through slavery not by becoming free, but by making choices about how he was to experience slavery.
One of my favorite quotes from him (in the Julie translation) is “We are not upset by the things that happen, we are upset by our opinions about the things that happen.”
So – in response to the question Meredith asks, we cannot plan for the specific, red and white polka dot, steel beamed barrier that appears except to know a barrier of some sort will pop up and most of the time catch us completely off guard.
What we can plan for is our response to the barriers and choose, consciously, what serves us and the world in the best way.
We may choose to get angry at the world and see it as another way to “get” us.
We may choose to blame others for what happened rather than look at the situation with open, conscious, non-opinion based facts. What can be seen, measured, pointed to, weighed. Not what you think about abstractions or concepts but what is… in the roadblock as well as in the cleared path.
We may choose to take a moment to let the dust settle, do an inventory of what is underneath the dust, and deal with how this particular barrier may impact the rest of the plan as well as the mission and purpose and love of your life.
With a bit of reflection, you may find the roadblock or barrier actually provides a bridge to something better than your plan, or perhaps morphs your plan into something you never expected. I have a lot of experience with this that goes out over the years.
It might have made me angry to read this when I was younger, but now I know it is absolutely true.
It is as Randy Pausch said in his Last Lecture: “The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.”
So, these “barriers” are actually gifts. Within these gifts are treasures.
The next time you see something you call a barrier or roadblock, say a resounding “THANK YOU!” and aim to shift your opinion or the unconscious label you splash upon that particular barrier.
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© 2012 by Julie Jordan Scott