"The bamboo is strong, resilient, unbreakable." — Morihei Ueshiba
A challenge is the essence of opportunity. But to what purpose?
We face challenges every day. Some are small and met with annoyance. Some are momentous and met with mind-numbing fear. But where some see annoyance and fear, I see opportunity.
All living things have one primary biological purpose: to survive. This survival requires overcoming challenges and reproducing. Life doesn't make either one easy. And whether by grand design or not, both requirements yield more resilient life.
What is resilience?
In short, it is toughness and elasticity rolled into one. Bamboo comes to mind. It is hard and unyielding but bends with the wind. These qualities at first appear to be contradictory, a polarity, but they compliment each other in life.
Resilience grows with each challenge. And challenges grow with resilience. The universe, it seems, is on a mission to test life in all its forms. It pokes, prods and nudges. Otherwise, life would grow complacent and fall into decay.
So you see, challenges are not to be feared. They are to be welcomed as opportunities to grow. And every challenge offers a double reward:
Strength is the toughness of bamboo refusing to yield. Wisdom is the elasticity of bamboo in bending with the wind. Sometimes we resist. Sometimes we bend. But we do not break.
With each challenge, we gain strength and wisdom. We become a body imbued with the history of all that is experienced and learned. The universe appears to torment but in fact bestows the gift of resilience. The ultimate challenge is to be worthy of it.
In what ways are you resilient?
Can you point to a recent challenge that made you stronger and wiser?
Can you pinpoint how you grew stronger and wiser?
The next time you face a challenge, whether small or momentous, acknowledge your feelings of annoyance or fear. Then ask yourself this question:
How will this challenge make me more resilient?
Keep this double reward front and center until the challenge has been met. Then celebrate all you have gained.
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