Transforming the way you see the world

Updated: Oct 16, 2018


I just completed reading a book called, The Obstacle Is The Way, by Ryan Holiday. It is a simple yet profound outline of the power of the obstacles that we inevitably face in our lives. The majority of people in the world do not see obstacles as necessary strength and character builders. In the book, Holiday gives many great examples of people who used their circumstances to elevate their abilities and capacities rather than have the circumstances use them, victimizing and paralyzing them.

In order to grow and evolve, discomfort is a necessary component. If you’re not getting uncomfortable than you’re not growing. One of my favorite quotes elucidates this truth: There is no growth in your comfort zone; no comfort in your growth zone. It is not possible to get stronger muscles lifting light weights that do not overload you and cause discomfort and pain. It is not possible to get better at playing guitar as a beginner unless the tips of your fingers bleed and callous. It is not possible to get that promotion unless you are giving more effort and value to the company and customers than anyone else would.

This takes discipline, a will of steel, and most importantly, a burning desire. If you find yourself being trounced by obstacles, struggles or fears, make a tiny upgrade in your perception of those obstacles, struggles and fears. Re-frame them as strength and character builders, projects for greater power and performance, or challenges to grow and expand. As I always ask myself when tough times come: How can I turn this challenge into a charge, this calamity into an opportunity, this adversity into an advantage, this setback into a setup for a comeback, or this problem into a quest for solutions? That’s exactly what problems or failures are – triggers to charge, opportunities to grow and expand, and advantages to advance.

I remember hearing Les Brown give an amazing quote that says, “Life is a series of God-ordained opportunities brilliantly disguised as problems.” The amazing part of what I am sharing with you is we all possess this power – the power of perception and our ability to upgrade it! Again, from a previous upgrade blog I wrote, I prefer using the word upgrade rather than change. Change denotes pain, whereas upgrade emphasized better. I recently had an experience where I went to bed angry and frustrated. With those emotional states being cultivated I transferred those feelings towards my wife and children. My daughter attempted to show me love, and I perceived it as an annoyance. I felt bad about the experience and woke up the next day feeling enormously guilty and even more angry, only at myself. This experience may seem small, but the lesson is nonetheless a powerful element in turning our trials and tribulations into elevators upward toward greater awareness and overall well-being.

Now, I could have easily beat myself up and whined about what a terrible father I was, and on and on. That doesn’t serve me, my family or anyone for that matter. So, I immediately cultivated another powerful life enhancement upgrade called curiosity. I shifted my perception from being a whiner of my circumstance to a winner of my circumstance, simply by asking the question, “What lesson can I extract from this experience so that I am better?” Here is what I came up with: Never go to bed angry. Always go to bed with love in your heart. Spend most of your waking moments expressing love. We all have the choice to either love or hate. Which one you choose is completely up to you.

My question to you is, “Is that a valuable lesson that has the ability to upgrade your life?” Of course it is. In this example, the obstacle in my way was my own perceptions and behaviors. Instead of turning away from it in frustration and self-hate, saying, “I am a loser and a horrible father”, I stepped into it and came out with a powerful upgrade. This upgrade will forever be installed and instilled in me for the rest of my life. This would not be the case if I played the role of victim and slave to my behaviors and mistakes. This goes for any and all obstacles in your way. There is gold and treasures within all experiences of life. Often times the greatest treasures lay beneath the hardest and most troubling times. I leave you with a quote from The Obstacle Is The Way: The obstacle in the path becomes the path. Never forget, within every obstacle is an opportunity to improve our condition.

To your continued evolution, live it up with POWER, PURPOSE & PASSION!


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Anthony Cheam

Speaker/Author/Life Coach/Personal Trainer


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