Access Point: Struggle
"Struggle has no power of its own; every ounce of energy it possesses comes from within us. We feed each battle by our thoughts and fortify the fight by our fear of it."
- James McPartland
Our struggles are a repelling force meant to distract us from doing the work that we truly want to do. The more important the work and the more we believe it will feed our evolution, the more resistance we will experience in pursuit of it. Struggles are common and can show up in a range of areas – from feeding our soul creatively to health regimens, spiritual growth, education, cultivating relationships, undertaking an endeavor to help others, and risking isolation to develop the skills required to meaningfully advance our careers.
If you look closely, you can see that struggle disguises itself as an outside opponent: time, boss, spouse, kids, the opinion of others, our judgements, and even the weather. The subtle, and not so subtle, voice of struggle will get into your head and press hard to convince you of either the inconvenience or impossibility of what you deep down know you must do.
One of the greatest manifestations of struggle is procrastination, whereby we consistently rationalize putting things off to one of our two favorite days of the week: tomorrow and some day. Procrastination is a learned behavior, one mastered by repetition. If we’re not careful, we will put off our lives until there is virtually no time left to push past our struggle and realize what we have been put on earth to do.
Struggle will never be beaten, but it can be tamed in pursuit of completing the various duties required to fulfill our life assignment.
In an attempt to harness the strife, ask yourself several questions:
What obstacles have I created to justify my current situation?
Are these obstacles proportionate to the size of my goal, or am I making majors out of minors?
Have I surrounded myself with certain people to validate my struggle?
What is it that I am actually afraid of?
Next, follow up those questions by answering these:
What is this struggle meant to teach me?
If I push past it, who are the people that truly stand to benefit?
When I look to those I admire most, what possible struggles have they had to work through along the way?
How can I condition myself to accept that another wave of difficulties awaits me as I pursue who I have the potential to become?
Each of our major struggles represent a piece of the life puzzle, one that invites the next challenge and the corresponding puzzle piece. The more willing we are to accept that each struggle unlocks a sequence of strenuous steps, the more we come to find that embracing our struggle brings us closer to living our life with meaning and purpose. Put another way, if the ends justify the means, then the struggle is the path to fulfilling our purpose and executing upon our life assignment. It can be one of the best teachers we will ever have the pleasure to study under.