What the hell is an easy-street? It’s like life is just one long windy uphill journey. And that goes for the people that are born with silver spoons too. There’s just so much challenge and adversity in life. We all experience it in different ways. But ultimately life knows the exact challenges needed to push us to the brink. It’s tough when we go through it all. It’s never easy. But one of two things happen when we’re confronted with those difficult times. We either fold under pressure. Or we stretch. We get bigger, better and faster. The challenges we face in life make us a stronger version of ourselves. Without adversity we would never have to grow.
So in life don’t expect things to be a breeze. It will never be a walk in the park. But it will be tough. It will seem impossible. And it will be painful. But we all go through it in our own ways. We just have to be smart and persistent with every single challenge. Because we can conquer them. There’s no obstacle that you can’t beat. But if it was easy it wouldn’t be called a challenge. Don’t fold to challenges. Challenge yourself to beat them and grow as a person. And many times pushing through gets you that much closer to what you want and need in life. You have to always know what obstacle is currently in your way. So what is the biggest obstacle that stands in your way right now?
Here’s a short story on what the biggest obstacle that stands in my way is right now.
I remember being a young kid with such an optimistic outlook on life. I knew that I’d become something great one day. My whole life I felt it within me. There was literally nothing I couldn’t do. I could become the President of the United States one day. I could be an astronaut that explores Mars. I could be an inventor that creates teleportation or mind reading. There was so many different options. And those were all my own thoughts. My parents didn’t have to feed me that narrative. It was my dream to be great and accomplish big things simply because I knew I had it within me. And my teachers, peers, and parents just confirmed it. It sounds cocky for an elementary school kid but that’s how I felt.
I walked with my head high because I had to live out my life purpose. I was in the top of my classes in elementary school. I know that sounds like someone clinging on to their former glory. And maybe there’s some truth to that. But I answered all the questions the teacher asked and asked even better ones back. I turned my assignments in hours early and helped my friends get better grades. And I would laugh at how easy the quizzes and tests were. I eventually got quizzed for the gifted student program and that felt like an actual walk in the park. I was thrown into more gifted classes and still slowly rose to the top. It was a great feeling knowing I was talented at learning and critical thinking.
And all that success continued right into middle school. They put me in more advanced placement math courses to try and not bore me. We would tackle two or three chapters of math in the span of a week. By the time the year ended I was halfway through next year’s math curriculum. I was happy because I was realizing my purpose. I was becoming the best version of myself and showing myself that I could accomplish great things. But then early highschool happened. That’s when everything started to hit the fan. I was still one of the top students in my classes. And I was still in advanced math classes taking accelerated math with the grades above me. There was one critical thing that changed in my years of highschool.
I got sick. It wasn’t a small cold. It was sick, sick. I was hospitalized for pain and discomfort very often. I spent so much time in Children’s Hospital that it wasn’t funny. That place became my second home as a child. I would be stuck in a hospital bed curled up in pain pretty much every month. It was tough to deal with. It sucked being in pain and feeling like my world was ending. But I eventually learned to deal with it. One year it was so bad I was in the hospital almost every two weeks. It was insane. I pushed through the pain. But there was something deeper it did to me. It ripped my confidence from every part of my body. It took all my former accomplishments and threw them in trash. Because trophies and test scores mean nothing in the face of life or death.
And there was many times I could of died at Children’s Hospital. I would always go back to school as soon as I could. I wanted to get back to my normal life. I wanted to get back to my great life. But things weren’t the same. It was so much harder now. The math courses started kicking my ass. I couldn’t pass simple history or chemistry tests. There was a bunch of schoolwork to be done all at once. I would usually breeze through it and now it was taking me weeks to get simple work done. I couldn’t figure out what changed. I still had greatness within me. But my whole mentality got screwed. I didn’t truly believe that anymore. I walked with my head down, questioning everything about myself.
“Am I really great?” “Can I accomplish anything special” “Am I even as good as everyone else?” It screwed with me hard. I wasn’t the same, Tim. I was a broken Tim with no confidence. I spent the rest of the years in highschool struggling. Every time I went to the hospital, I came back more defeated. I had tons of makeup work stacking up in my binders. And I didn’t feel comfortable in the higher level classes. It wasn’t until later close to my last years that I realized what the obstacle was. It was all a mental challenge. Mark Parker, the CEO of Nike, helped me realized that I have tons of potential in me. I could be anything I wanted to be in life. I just had to stay confident in my skills and who I was.
By the end of the school year I was pretty confident again. I got all my makeup work in for all my classes. I joined a bunch of extra teams like First Robotics, FFA, and TSA. And I enjoyed them all. I closed out my school year passing all my classes and graduating as an AP Honor. It took a lot of work but I knew what I was capable of all along. I just had to use mind in a productive way. Right now, my biggest obstacle is mentality. I’ve been going through a rough patch where I’ve lost my confidence and direction in life. But I know I can still accomplish great things. And I still have that same goal from my childhood. But now in this moment, mind over matter is more important than it ever has been.
Our minds are truly unknown treasures. We have to protect them at all costs. Use it to better you, not destroy you, Tim.