Said Marcus Aurelius, "The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way."
On our many journeys in life, we will inevitably encounter obstacles. The path won't be uncluttered and straight, and we shouldn't expect it to be. We should anticipate trials, and prepare ourselves to spend a lot of time clearing debris.
When we do encounter these inevitable obstacles, we are given a choice: Stop and turn back, or push on and overcome.
Here is a little story about an obstacle, and a lesson in perseverance.
Another Story. Another Invaluable Lesson.
There once was a sprawling city.
Through the middle of the city ran a wide trading route. Daily, this route would be packed by the horse-drawn carriages of tradesmen or people transporting their goods to the markets.
One day, without warning, the King had the road blocked by a massive boulder. The people were furious. They cursed the fool King's name, flocking to the site of this new impediment, slamming it with their fists and pushing with all their might, but alas, the boulder refused to budge.
The trading route became congested. The flow of wealth was halted. People began to go hungry. After several days of frustration and no sign of reprieve from the King, a young merchant approached the boulder.
He examined it, measuring carefully it's rocky contours. Using a series of levers, he cleverly designed a system to move the boulder and once again allow passage. Trading resumed, the people rejoiced.
There's more to this story, though.
Underneath that boulder, and tucked neatly within a small pit, was a lockbox of precious gems from the King's court. It waited there patiently for someone cunning enough to overcome the obstacle and uncover it, as the King had intended all along.
Obstacles Are The Way
The boulders blocking our road will only impede us if we let them.
They are not monuments of our defeat, but chances for us to overcome (as the merchant did), or to forge a new path entirely.
Sometimes, the obstacle is the way. Let your boulders become your greatest opportunities.