The Gifts of Challenges

Challenges Are Opportunities in Disguise

How do you face challenges in life? 

Some people ask, “Why me?” 

Some say, “How could I be so stupid?” 

Others handle challenges gracefully. 

Do you tend to get in your own way when things get difficult? You’re not in the minority. 

There is another way. 

What, you ask?

Allow openness and attention to see what’s really coming your way. 

Hidden in any challenge is an opportunity awaiting your discovery.

Learn to stop the drama, and allow space for growth and happiness to come into your life.

Learn more in this video:

True Surrender Can Happen in Your Life

I speak from experience. 

A couple of decades ago, I was a practicing alcoholic. I’d tell myself “I’m gonna get this, I will not drink again.”

It was the same record, playing over and over again for close to a decade. I continued drinking. 

One day I was so depressed that I became suicidal. I had beaten my head against the wall for so long. I got to a point where I clenched so hard and tried repeatedly to manage the drinking – but I saw that it was indeed unmanageable.

Then there was just a giving up. 

When the giving up finally happened, that’s when sobriety happened. I had gripped so tightly that I had to let go. My unnecessary need to control simply surrendered.

Even if we don’t let go and accept a difficult situation, we may find that the problem is so difficult that we can’t fight it anymore. This can be how true surrender can happen.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

― Viktor E. Frankl

Challenges Form You into a New Way of Being

If you are a seeker of peace or self-transformation, it can help to welcome difficult situations. It is usually the problematic situations that allow us to awaken – if we face what is happening with openness rather than with resistance.

As humans, we don’t really know what is good or bad. Our minds continually judge what “should” or “should not” be happening. Looking back on our own lives, we can see that there were some circumstances that we thought were catastrophic – yet turned out to be a gift in disguise – and vice versa.

Ever say, “I wish I didn’t have this problem”?

Realize that when things are going along smoothly, you may have less opportunity for growth than when challenges are placed in your path.

Are You Living Unconsciously?

Are you fighting the same challenge over and over again?

When we fight what’s happening, there is too much focus on a mindset of “this shouldn’t be happening.” We are less likely to have the space for new awareness and insight to come in when we’re fighting with the challenge in our lives. 

As a result, there is not enough openness and attention for us to really see what’s coming our way.

What is coming our way? Opportunities. Always.

What It Really Means to Live Consciously

When we are conscious, we have more awareness. We are more able to have circumstances that are healthier in our lives. 

And because we’re paying attention, we can choose with more wisdom rather than having the unobserved mind live our lives. 

  • When we allow the unobserved mind to live our lives, this is living unconsciously.    
  • When we live unconsciously, we’re much more likely to live in this self-centered fear.  
  • The best way to awaken is through painful experiences, even though most of us would prefer to avoid them.

Overcoming Challenges to Create a More Meaningful Life

Challenges are the biggest opportunity to present a catalyst for waking up. Rather than seeing a challenge as a “problem”, we can see the challenge as an opportunity:

  • To strengthen us
  • To foster self-improvement
  • To bring a broader understanding
  • To cultivate deeper compassion

When life presents an unwelcome event: If you relax, allow, and stay attentive, you will notice that you can maintain peace and make wiser choices that bring your life to a better place.

Are you seeing now the power – and blessing – of a challenge?

After years of alcoholism, after my moment of surrender, after the giving up, there was this unclenching. I didn’t do it. I didn’t do anything. Healing began to happen when I stopped trying to do so much. For so long I had gripped my problem, my challenge, that one day there was just an unclenching. 

A release.

It created an opportunity for something new to come into my life. 

I discovered more conscious choices had come into my life.

Before, during the years of alcoholic drinking, I saw no choices. I was very lost, not realizing that I was thinking – lost in the unobserved mind. Luckily the letting go was the beginning of an awakening process. 

Over the years, many of us have been inspired by the meaning of the word crisis in Chinese. The second word means danger, but the first character means, “A crucial point when things begin to change.”

Let the challenges in your life wake you up

Here are my top tips: 

  • Approach your challenges with innocence.
  • Approach them with a mindset of “I don’t know what’s right for me.”
  • Think of a past experience where you thought something was good, but it ended up being bad (or vice versa).

Many of us don’t remember from our past experiences what was “good” – and sometimes, what we thought was “good” was actually “bad.” Maybe you’ve experienced business deals or relationships and discovered later they weren’t good ideas, even though initially you thought they might be.

Live Consciously. Live Mindfully. Listen to the Stillness.

Learn to be aware of your thoughts and feelings. That’s living consciously.

The more we can live grounded in our deeper nature, which is nothing other than who we are deeper than thought, we accept things that are happening.  

You can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to life circumstances. When there’s a letting go, more awareness comes into your life. There is also a subtle feeling of trust, ease, and a feeling that all is okay no matter what.

"Accept whatever comes to you woven in the pattern of your destiny, for what could more aptly fit your needs?"

- Marcus Aurelius

Discover more self-improvement tips & creative strategies to help guide you on a fulfilling path. Visit: or reach out anytime.  

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