Avoid roadblocks in your path

Did you ever hear the phrase “It is what it is?”

Some people say that it means the speaker just gave up. And in some cases it is true. But I want to show you how acceptance of outside factors can help you be more productive and more creative without fighting battles you cannot win.

“What? Battles I can’t win? I can do anything! Isn’t that what you always say?”

Yes. You can achieve anything you set yourself for. What I am saying is that the destination does not equal the journey.

When I want to go to London I usually take the shortest route. But sometimes I come to road works and closures. I don’t try to go through the work site. I shrug it off and turn to go around it. It is what it is.

Imagine that I would stand there shouting at workers that they ruined my day. You would say that I am stupid. “Just turn on the indicated diversion route you dumb&$$!”

If you want to achieve anything, you need to adopt that mindset.

You will encounter things that will block your path. It’s not something you can avoid. The sooner you accept a roadblock, the sooner you can continue on your journey.

Yes, it might be longer. Yes, it might take more resources and time to reach your destination. But it is what it is and your ability to pivot quickly will enable you to reach your goals faster. This is what old European philosophers called Amor Fati (loosely translated as Love your Fate) and in Japan, it is known as Uketamo – acceptance to the core.

It’s a mindset that promotes the acceptance of what is.

Acceptance helps us to avoid struggle—because the struggle is nothing more than the refusal to accept what is. When you struggle, you resist, and, as Carl Jung says, “that which we resist, persists.”

Imagine that you are unhappy at your job. You begin to resent your job. You complain about how much you hate it. It creates negative energy which manifests itself into a struggle. You’re fighting what is because you aren’t accepting what is. And as long as you continue to resist the situation, the situation will continue to persist.

Now think about what will happen when you accept the situation. It is what it is. You’ll say “Okay, my job sucks. For now, I’m here. I will do the bare minimum in the job and focus my entire energy on looking for a new job.” That’s Amor Fati.

You accept your situation and stop wasting energy trying to change the situation in your job. You stopped resisting. You’re OK with the current situation. And you shift your energy to focus on where you want to go: Your next job. That’s why so many people struggle to change their lives.

They focus on what they don’t want, rather than giving energy to what they do want.

Napoleon Hill once asked Henry Ford:
“In your mind, is there anything you could not achieve?”

Henry Ford replied: “No. I can achieve anything I set my mind to.”
“But how do you deal with obstacles and things you cannot change? You must admit, that there are things you are unable to change.”

Henry Ford said: “When I encounter a problem I focus on the things I can do. I don’t give a single thought to things I cannot change. There are always things I can do. So I start with them. And when I do the things I can do, it opens new things I can do. And the things which I could not do tend to change. Either now I can do something about them or they disappear altogether because I can take a different path to achieve the goal.”

When you accept the things you cannot change and focus on the things you can change, the things which you could not change either transmute or disappear.

Take me. When I was diagnosed with bipolar, I could finally understand my past; why I did the things I did. But it gave me an obstacle bigger than I was at the time. I could scream all I wanted, but that would not help. What I did was this:
I accepted the fact
I looked at the impact of the illness on my life
I selected the things I could do and focused on them

I started by learning what is affecting me and how I react in different situations. Basically, I started to gather data.

Fast forward to today. I can identify when I am heading to one of the episodes and I know what I can do to shorten them.

I cannot avoid them. It’s what it is.

But I account for them in my planning and when they come, I don’t fret. I just let them pass. That’s what I wanted to convey to you today.

Stop wasting energy on things you cannot change. Start focusing on the things you can do to achieve your goals.

Road closed, signs and barriers

This teaching is a part of the Tree of Life Quest framework, life area 3. Weather and Seasons: Your Resilience.

The full list of Tree of Life Quest areas:

  1. Soil and Nutrition: Your Mindset
    – who you are and how to bring it to the world; your mindset, needs, values, beliefs, attitudes, and purpose.
  2. Garden: Your Realm
    – growth-focused environment; your goals, inner circle of friends, your experiences, and your living space
  3. Weather and Seasons: Your Resilience
    – taking advantage of opportunities and getting through the bad things of life (illness, losing a job, relationship breakup, death in family etc.).
  4. Roots: Your Welfare
    – taking care of your body, soul, and spirit for the best performance and enjoyment of life
  5. Trunk and Branches: Your resources
    – managing your time, energy, focus, willpower, money, and other assets for the biggest impact in your life and in the lives of others
  6. Crown: Your Impact
    – your relationships, livelihood, and mission. The way you interact with the Universe and how you change the Universe by your actions.

Image sources: