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October 8, 2012 / Dale Melchin

The Challenge of Difficulty

dif·fi·cul·ty [dif-i-kuhl-tee, -kuhl-tee] Show IPA

noun, plural dif·fi·cul·ties.
1. the fact or condition of being difficult.
2. Often, difficul·ties. an embarrassing situation, especially of financial affairs.
3. a trouble or struggle.
4. a cause of trouble, struggle, or embarrassment.
5. a disagreement or dispute.

Often times difficulties are viewed as a negative thing and not something good. This happens in at least 3 areas.

From the perspective of the individual enduring the difficulty
From the perspective of the difficulty itself
From the prespective of the individuals not directly involved with the difficulty, but are observers into the individual’s life.

The perspective of the individual enduring the difficulty.

From the perspective of the self, or the untrained self difficulty is viewed as a reason to disengage in an activity. I know this was true in my life early on when I was first studying painting. I had gotten my first job with a painting company. I was let go b/c I wasn’t catching on fast enough. So instead of persisting and getting another job with another master painter, I gave into fear and doubt and slung Pizza’s for 2 years before I got back on the horse and learned to paint.

The lesson that I hadn’t learned and to an extent am still learning is that failure is part of the success path. An example of this the child learning to walk. At first the child is doing this with great difficulty because of the development of the muscles and other biomechanical factors that go into a child’s development. The child’s natural reaction is to persist, because their mind hasn’t been conditioned to give up when seeing difficulty.  As we get older we learn to listen to the opinions of others for good or for ill and we limit ourselves and don’t continue to reach for more out of life.

We as individuals must ingrain it into our brains that when we take up a new skill or just life as a whole, that difficulty is part of life, and failure needs to be factored into the equation.  It is through failure that we learn to grow if we are self aware. The person who fails to see this continues to make the same mistakes, living in a cycle of failure.

Another aspect of this is trying to do something that doesn’t align with your strengths. If you are someone who has a right brain bent and you are intent upon becoming an accountant, you are going to have problems. That is because you are not respecting the principle of the human/task interface, or are not operating in your strength zone according to the authors of the Strengthsfinder.

Individual difficulties can be minimized by operating in the strengths zone, but not eliminated.

The perspective of the difficulty itself.
Most personal difficulties are not absolute and can be fixed with a change of perspective or a shift in focus. If a person is having repeated relationship difficulties, the problem is probably a mix between the self and the other individual. However, the self can change perspective and fix the nature of the problem. If your behavior triggers the difficulty, you can change your behavior to trigger a different result.

Some difficulties are absolute though these include.
A ten ton rock in the road.
Individuals who refuse to be influenced.
Animals that are aggravated.

The only way to counter these difficulties is to submit to them in the case of gravity or other natural laws. However the more absolute difficulties are best to be avoided, or we change how we relate to the problem. The angry animal is best avoided, shot, or distracted in case you were wondering. I don’t recommend shooting difficult individuals. 😉

The Perspective of Observers
We think our problems are huge. However someone further up the path may see our problem as a trivial thing that can be dealt with very easily. Often they are right, especially if they are wiser or have more experience. We may run into individuals who aren’t as far along the path as we are and see us as a real mover and shaker, and an over-comer of difficulty. Also we may view their problem from the perspective of the observer who looked at us.

The point is almost no problem is absolute. The solution to solving problems is to work within the self to expand perspective and look for solutions to these problems whatever they may be and take action to resolve them. Most problems can be solved with applied knowledge and wisdom.


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