BY TRACY HARRIS
There once was a wealthy king that decided to test his subjects. He placed a small boulder along a popular path that led into the kingdom to see how his subjects would deal with this new challenge. Every day the subjects would walk around the boulder complaining about how it was in their way and that the King was mad. It went on like this for a while until one day a man walked up to it and decided to move it to the side. It wasn’t heavy nor hard to move, but it did take some effort. When he finished moving it, he started to walk away but then noticed that lying under the boulder was a bag full of coins. When the King saw what the man did, he asked him what made him move the boulder and not just complain about it. The man explained that in everyone’s lives there are challenges. You can complain about them, or acknowledge them and do something about them. Challenges are nothing more than opportunities.
I was told that story a few years ago, and while it resonated with me then, it became more apparent recently. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, and there I am standing in my bathroom crying. I had broken my right hand and was going to be in a cast for weeks after I had surgery on it. Now, I am a fiercely independent woman, and I was unable to even put toothpaste on my toothbrush. I had to ask for help with everything. It was humbling and at times embarrassing. Standing in the bathroom, looking at myself in the mirror with swollen eyes from crying, I remembered the story of the King and the boulder.
I was being given a challenge. I was fortunate because I knew there would be an end to it at some point, but for the foreseeable future, it would be there, and I could complain about it or acknowledge it and figure out a way around it. I can’t say it has been easy, and I have shed tears of frustration, but I have learned new ways of doing my everyday things. But more importantly, I learned a greater appreciation of the challenges that others might have – things that were simple to me, that I took for granted. I was growing from my experience.
Every one of us is given challenges and obstacles. They might come from work or our personal life. Some we put on ourselves while others are given to us. But what we need to remind ourselves is that we have a choice. We can be those subjects that walk around the boulder while complaining or we can be that man that chose to address the situation and grow from it. Challenges give us the ability to learn and grow if we allow them to.
Remember: a challenge only becomes an obstacle when you bow to it.