I was thinking about my life the other day, which I often do. I realized that I don't have any challenges in my life, compared to a lot of other people. By that I mean, my life is going along smoothly and the things I want pretty much come to me. I thought: “that's a good thing, not to have to work so hard for what I want.”
But then another thought popped into my head: “Yeah but your life is boring. You don't have any challenges, that feeling of intense satisfaction you get when you need to give your all to overcome a huge obstacle. There isn't anything better than that.” I started to think about overcoming obstacles and the satisfaction associated with it. Then I realized that intrinsic to any challenge is resistance to the goal. An obstacle is necessary in order to have a challenge. If resistance to the goal is not present, it wouldn't feel like an obstacle, and there would be no challenge! I started to think about that great feeling you get when you overcome the obstacle and demonstrate success. But that feeling is just the lowering of the resistance that was put up in the first place. I then realized that in life, each individual is their own best friend and their own worst enemy.
Say Jack wanted to start a new business. In this post-pandemic mess of an economy, even the idea of starting a new business might seem crazy. It seems daunting at first, but Jack really, really wants to do it because he already has a home office and has been selling his editing/writing services on the side for over a year. It seems that Jack has a knack for advising aspiring writers and successfully editing their material. Jack’s day job sucks and he would really like to be an independent businessperson full time. But still, it’s going to be a lot of work building the business up to the point where he can quit that crummy day job.
If Jack approaches the venture with the attitude that it’s really going to be hard, he is already throwing vibrational obstacles in his path. As usual, the Law of Attraction gets busy right away matching him up with more difficult clients, and the work gets harder and harder. Soon he is working very hard but not making much money. Client A is dissatisfied and Jack grudgingly agrees to only charge half of the agreed price. He begins missing out on more and more clients. He realizes that he really has to grind now, so he lowers his prices and works twice as hard. Eventually, after several years, Jack gets the business up and now he is happy.
But what if you approached the new business with a detailed vision, a vision in which the resources and the clients you need come to you easily? That’s what Jill did. Jill saw no obstacles in her path to creating her company. Even when difficulties arose, she didn’t see them as obstacles. When Client A was dissatisfied, she cheerfully refunded his money. When she lost out on a couple of jobs she really wanted, Jill decided that the universe was looking out for her. “Those clients would not have been fun to work with,” she decided. Her interest and excitement in her editing/writing services never flagged, and she began to attract more and more clients that aligned with her own personal preferences. The powerful universal property of “like attracts like” immediately went to work for Jill, and she did not discourage the flow.
So which is more satisfying: grinding it out and working like hell to overcome challenges, or getting through without a lot of effort? It’s up to the individual I guess. If we analyzed both businesses, we find that Jill was working just as many hours as Jack. But Jill’s work was done with a lot less effort!
Grinders expect obstacles and love hard work. For them, Jack’s path would be more acceptable. After the football game one Sunday evening, Jack’s buddies all congratulate him at the bar and talk about how he “stepped up” and “battled through to victory.” In Jack’s set, fighting obstacles and struggling are considered “character builders,” whereas smooth sailing is regarded as wimpy.
Jill’s friends, on the other hand, are all admiration for her unflagging optimism and her new company. They are all a bit envious and jealous, if the truth be told, but they all have a lot of respect for her because she is now independent of the daily grind.
Which scenario would you rather experience? Which business do you think will be easier to run, and be ultimately more successful?
Challenges are essentially self-imposed. Challenges come about from not keeping your energy aligned to what you want as you go along. The normal obstacles and SNAFUs in any business can be regarded as boulders that cause worry and upset, or as pebbles that can be swept out of the way.
Of course, this example would be a little different if the goal were strictly a physical activity. Let’s say that Bill and Bob are rock climbers of equal ability and they both decide to free-climb that 300 foot mesa. Let’s say that Bill approaches the climb with the idea that it will be almost impossible and that he might get killed. On the way up, Bill has a series of near-death experiences, but he makes it up and down with only a twisted knee and a couple of gashes on his arms. Bob, on the other hand, doesn’t attempt the climb until he feels excited and confident about it. Bob naturally gravitates to those areas where the holds are optimum, where the rock is solid, and where there are a minimum of difficult passages.
Bill gets off the mesa and practically collapses. Bob gets off the rock and is still excited. He is really tired, had some difficulties, but feels exhilarated at his experience.
Bob goes to his buddies and starts bragging to them all what a monster he is. He tells them about the time he almost fell off, and all the rest. They look at him in awe. Bob goes to his friends and he tells them how much fun he had. He tells them about his anxious moments, but he describes how good the rock is, how the climb can be successfully negotiated. He shows them the route he took.
Bill’s buddies are scared shitless to attempt the climb. They look at him like a minor deity. Bob’s buddies are excited to try it for themselves. The energy of the group is really high, and they decide to climb it together with Bob leading the way.
Bill overcame big-time challenges. Bob did as well, but his climb was marked by an excitement that comes from a lack of resistance to the goal.
Anything that can be accomplished with resistance can be done easier with a lack of resistance. And with a lot more fun as well!