Imagine you’re in a taxi on the way to the airport to catch an important flight. Your ride could go off without a hitch: traffic is light, you get green lights the whole way, and you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare and no stress. This is the way you wish it could be all the time.
Or it could go the other way: there’s heavy traffic from door to door, you encounter nothing but red lights, and you get to the airport a frazzled mess with minutes to spare. This is what you’re hoping will not happen.
Though one journey was more pleasant than the other, the result is the same. You got to the airport. You were able to catch your important flight. By the time you reach your destination, you’ve probably forgotten the taxi ride, because the most important thing was getting to your destination.
Can you even imagine being in that second scenario and deciding at some point to just give up? “Getting to the airport is just too difficult and it’s no fun. I don’t want to catch my flight anymore. Just let me out here in the middle of the highway and I’ll go home.” Of course you wouldn’t. This scenario is ridiculous. Even if you were truly late, you’d still go to the airport and try to get on the next flight, because you know the important thing is not the ride to the airport itself, but getting to your final destination.
When Do You Decide to Give Up?
Forgive this long metaphor but I hope you can see where I’m going with this. The goal you’re currently pursuing in your life is where you’re flying to. The work you’re putting into achieving it is the taxi ride to the airport. Sometimes it goes even better than planned, and sometimes it’s a disaster filled with roadblock after roadblock.
If you’re truly committed to your goal and you believe that achieving it is important, then you won’t let those roadblocks stop you, no matter how many you encounter. Getting out of the taxi on the side of the road is like abandoning your project halfway through. It’s just as silly and counterproductive. It also misunderstands the relationship between a goal and the work required to achieve it.
You don’t have to enjoy the work every step of the way when you know that the thing you’re pursuing is truly worth it. You just have to have faith that if you keep working towards your goal, you will eventually achieve it – roadblocks or not.
Learning to Love the Roadblocks
We all want to be in the first taxi. That’s not realistic, though. When pursuing goals, especially when they’re of the Very Large variety, you’re pretty much guaranteed to run into some roadblocks along the way.
Rather than hating them, you should learn to love them. That’s because they’re teaching you something new each time. With each setback that keeps you from progressing towards your goal, you have to do something new to get beyond it. You may need to learn a new skill, try a new tactic, or work with a new person. Or it could be internal. You may need to learn to develop patience, or grow a backbone, or commit to being honest at all times.
This is how you continue to grow as a person. We don’t grow when we’re in our comfort zones. There’s no reason to. We only grow when we’re pushed outside and have to deal with things we’ve never dealt with before. This is why you should learn to love the roadblocks that are (temporarily) keeping you from your goal. They help you become a better version of yourself.
Stay the Course
No one said the journey to your goals was going to be easy and fun. I’m actually here to tell you that the journey will not always be easy and fun. If your goal is big enough, it will stretch you, and that can be painful. In the end, it’s worth it. Commit to your goal, stay the course, and you can’t help but grow in the process.