During World War II, the German military implemented a strategy called blitzkrieg, a term meaning, “lightning warfare.” This strategy was comprised of rapid and formidable attacks intended to catch the opposing side off guard. It worked. It was not uncommon for the opposing commanders to simply surrender when faced with what appeared to be a guaranteed defeat. It was an obstacle that appeared to leave them helpless and without options. The German military was victorious in this approach until General Dwight D. Eisenhower proclaimed, “The present situation is to be regarded as opportunity for us and not disaster.”
Once they looked at it as an opportunity, they were able to think of strategic ways to use this terrible problem in their favor. During the next few battles, the allies allowed the powerful line of attack to enter, and then they encircled and overtook them from the back and sides. In a sense, the German army walked right into the allies’ “net.”
Obstacles are inevitable. If we are alive, we are facing them. Some are big and some are small, but they are always there. They can make us feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and exhausted. They can lead us to believe that we are doing things wrong, we are not good enough, or even make us give up. But there is another way. If we choose to, we can see that within every obstacle, we are given an opportunity.
How many times do we look back at hard events and go “man, that was rough. But I learned so much”? Or, “I never would have changed if that obstacle hadn’t happened in my life”? Obstacles remind us that life doesn’t care about our agendas or the way we think things should go, it cares about our evolution.
Obstacles give us the chance to think differently, to see things in a new light, to let go of old ways and learn new ones, deepen our connections, and increase our knowledge. The opportunity is there, but it’s up to us to figure out what it is. The path to the answer is in the struggle. The obstacle is the way.