Facing Up To Challenges, Aug 04


Be forewarned: anytime we learn something new that runs counter to our prior conditioning, our brain will immediately protest and warn us that we are doing something unfamiliar and that we had better stop immediately! This tension feels terrible, but it has a purpose. It forces us to act.

We humans hate tension. We’ll do anything to reduce it, ignore it, or make it go away. One way to do that is to lower our sights, give up our goals, and sink back into our old patterns. This is the quick and easy fix, and the one most of us take. A tougher, more uncomfortable solution is to stick to our decisions and use that tension we feel as a driving force that pressures us to keep moving forward.

This takes guts, no question about it. The closer we get to achieving our goal, the stronger the forces that show up to test us, to attempt to pull us off course, or force us back into old comfortable patterns. We seem to fall apart at the brink of success. We get cold feet, feel guilty, doubt our abilities, recall the pain of old failures, or worry that we made the wrong decision. It’s okay to feel bad, or anxious, or uncertain. Just don’t let it stop you.

We have got to be willing to feel uncomfortable. For us pleasure-seeking, conflict-avoiding, pain-denying creatures, that is a very tall order. It is certainly not comfortable to face up to a challenge or to acknowledge a problem, and it is especially uncomfortable to give up our habitual ways of handling them. Yet, that is exactly what is required.

Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. The real work in raising our level of consciousness to a new level is to stop doing the same old thing that we have always done, to try out new strategies, to ignore the alarms that we are out of our comfort zone, resist the urge to quit, and to refuse to fall back into familiar terrain.

The ability to tolerate discomfort—doing what might not feel good, but doing it anyway—is the only way we will ever complete the path to success that we were originally determined to walk on. The discomfort is temporary, but the payoff is extraordinary. Once the Universe gets it that you are determined, it will stop testing your resolve.