What Stands in the Way, Becomes the Way


Life often presents obstacles that seem insurmountable, challenges that test our will and resilience. However, there exists a philosophy that suggests these obstacles, instead of being roadblocks, can serve as pathways to growth and success. This principle, “What stands in the way becomes the way,” illustrates the wisdom of transforming obstacles into opportunities. 

Primarily, this philosophy finds roots in Stoic teachings, notably advocated by Marcus Aurelius, the Roman Emperor. The fundamental idea is not to be defeated or discouraged by hindrances but to confront and leverage them. Instead of avoiding or complaining about the hurdles, the focus shifts to confronting and understanding them. This mindset shift empowers us to adapt and find innovative ways to overcome challenges.

The essence lies in reframing difficulties as opportunities for self-reformation and progress. When faced with adversity, one can choose to perceive it as a chance to test and strengthen their character. Challenges offer an arena to develop resilience, problem-solving skills, and mental fortitude. By embracing the obstacle, we often unearth new abilities and perspectives we didn’t realize we possessed.

Furthermore, this philosophy encourages a proactive approach. It urges us not to be passive recipients of circumstances but to take charge. Instead of surrendering to the adversity, it prompts the exploration of alternative paths, fostering creativity and resilience. An ironic truth about life is that we cannot shy away from challenges, that only happens at death. So long we are still living, challenges will come our way and we have to overcome it else, we keep struggling.

In my view, life presents obstacles as markers of significant achievements waiting beyond them. These challenges demand our resilience since life’s essence lies in its complexity. It offers varying levels of experience, whether we navigate them by crawling, walking, running, jumping, or even soaring. Obstacles most times define how far we can go in life. 

However, it is important to acknowledge that embracing challenges does not dismiss the difficulty or pain they might bring. The concept is not about denying hardships but rather about transforming them into stepping stones for greatness. 

Major religious texts advocate that obstacles are unavoidable; they necessitate either moving through them or settling into stagnation. They further encourage facing these challenges, promising victory to those who persist. It is essential to remember that triumph is reserved for those who persevere without giving up.

In essence, the notion of “What stands in the way, becomes the way” is a powerful reminder that obstacles can serve as gateways to self-discovery and progress. It is a profound invitation to alchemize adversity into opportunity, a call to embrace challenges, not as adversaries, but as stepping stones towards realizing one’s full potential. By reframing our perception of challenges and seeing them as opportunities, we empower ourselves to extract valuable lessons, fortify our character, and pave our way to success through the very things that once hindered us.

About the author

Adebayo Olukade

Adebayo Olukade is a quality assurance professional at The Tonic Technologies. He is an advocate for growth and intentional leadership. Adebayo is very optimistic, liberal, and pragmatic. Therefore making him an inspiration to many, confidant to some, and a leader par excellence.

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