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  • Writer's pictureTy Jones

What Stands In The Way Becomes The Way

Marcus Aurelius wrote in his Meditations, Book 5.20: "The mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting. The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way."

Marcus Aurelius, one of the great Stoics, understood that the obstacles we face are the tip of the iceberg. The rest of the obstacle, unseen in the depths, is purely the embellishments of our minds. All this means is that if we strip away all the emotion and grandeur we artificially add to our problems, we find much smaller obstacles standing in our way.

What stands in the way becomes the way

And even more importantly, the obstacles we face are the trials we MUST face if we want to be our best selves. What most of us do when we have an obstacle in our way, is build a narrative in our minds about how awful it will be. But what we should be doing is building a narrative about how much that obstacle will benefit us once we tackle it.

Have you ever gone to the gym, completed a really tough workout where you gave it your all, and thought "I sure wish I had sat at home and watched Netflix instead"? If you're reading this, probably not. The narrative you build might say "It's going to be really hard and uncomfortable, I should stay home and watch Netflix". The reality is "It's going to be really hard, uncomfortable, and incredibly fulfilling!".

If we could see things objectively, rather than perceive them subjectively and build a false narrative around them, we would be much more likely to act. We would see the benefit in all of our obstacles. We would attack life with vigor.

My challenge to you is to see obstacles in your life objectively, pick your battles, and get to work! I also highly recommend the book "The Obstacle Is The Way" by Ryan Holiday.

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