The Journey of Overcoming Obstacles


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  18 comments   :  19,339 Views

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”~Lao Tzu
A few weeks ago a colleague sent me a link to an article from the Times NewsFeed regarding Canadian Jean Béliveau's 11-year walking journey and the lessons he learned along the way. She asked if I would be willing to blog about it. After reading the article I sat on it trying to find a common thread as to how I could relate this man's journey with the journey so many of us have taken.

When Jean Béliveau begin his journey 11 years ago he had no idea how long it would take to get to his goal. He started out running, but soon resorted to walking. He struggled with many obstacles, such as falling ill in Algeria to being mobbed in South Africa. And while he did consider giving up on his journey, his girlfriend encouraged him to continue on, which he did.

After 11 long years what started out as a journey to achieve a goal to walk around the world, he learned much more than he ever could have imagined when we took his first step. He came back with a "wealth of knowledge and understanding." While most of us will never embark on a journey of this magnitude, I think we can find a commonality between his journey and that of our own.

"Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it."~Michael Jordan

That commonality is that our life is a journey. We all have expectations and when our expectations fall short, it seems so much easier to give up than to push ahead. We plan, we take the steps to move us closer to our goals and for some reason, when we are confronted with an obstacle, this is what can cause many of us to turn away from our goals. After all life is so much easier when everything goes as planned. But it is truly the obstacles and how we overcome them that allow us to embrace the knowledge and wealth of living.

We are going to make mistakes. We are going to have obstacles that make reaching our goals even more challenging. We are going to have things pop up in our life that we have no control over. We are going to feel like giving up. We are going to feel empowered one day, only to find the next day we no longer feel we have the strength to carry on. We are going to feel hopeless. We are going to feel like giving up because that is much easier than carrying on. But all these things don't have to keep us from reaching our goals.

Just remember in our journey we always have choices. We can choose to face the obstacles in our life head on OR we can elect to give up never allowing ourselves the opportunity to feel that sense of accomplishment, no matter how big or how small. We can choose to learn from our mistakes OR we can dwell on the mistakes which will never allow us to move forward. We can choose to travel the journey alone OR we can reach out to others to hold our hand to help us through this journey. We can choose to embrace the journey with all its trials and tribulations and know that we will be more knowledgeable in the weeks, months and years ahead OR we can elect to remain stagnant.

"Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed." Booker T. Washington

For me every obstacle allows me to learn. They allow me to grow. They allow me to let down my guard and be vulnerable to others. They allow me to lean on others for help and guidance. They allow me to change. They allow me to be human.

So when you feel that the journey is not going quite as planned, now is the time to dig in and find the strength you have. It may have been suppressed over the years, but it is still there. And if you still can't find it, allow others to help you find it. It would have been so much easier for Jean Béliveau to give up and head home, but what would he have learned? Where would he be today if he allowed that first obstacle to turn his goals into just another dream? Would he have the knowledge today to know that he is and was stronger than the obstacle that crossed his path?

While none of us have a crystal ball to see what our future holds, one thing I do know is that I only have one shot at life, and every time I fall, having the courage to get back up allows me to be the me I was meant to be.

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do."~Confucius

What obstacles have you had to overcome in your own journey? Have you allowed yourself to lean on your SparkPeople friends to carry you through some of these obstacles? Do you have more wisdom today than when you first started your journey?

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  • 18
    This Blog was Great! I like it very much! - 1/9/2018   12:08:39 AM
  • 17
    Very good blog - 8/23/2017   9:39:48 AM
    "I have
    a question of celestial proportions;

    "Who do you
    Choose To Be?"

    Spirita from the book Sunshine Syllabus - 12/5/2011   5:16:15 PM
  • 15
    I guess my obstacle is apathy. Since terrorists killed my son in the war, I have lost my sense of purpose and find it hard to care about anything all that much. I am trying to be healthy to deal with physical pain but there is no getting rid of the sorrow and emotional pain. - 10/27/2011   4:09:59 PM
  • 14
    Awesome blog Nancy! I've shared with a number of people and my send to school too for our kiddos! Thanks.
    Thanks for "holding my hand" too! - 10/26/2011   9:59:51 PM
  • 13
    Jean's journey is very motivating and an eye opener. I want to think that any obstacle that gets in my way to becoming healthier, is part of my journey and that no hurdle is to big to get over. - 10/26/2011   12:55:33 PM
  • 12
    When obstacles appear in my journey, I find comfort in the familiar healthy choices and knowledge that I can continue toward my goal from this very moment. - 10/26/2011   9:07:00 AM
  • 11
    I have had many obstacles in my life but like you I over came them by pertinacity. A more recent issue I lost 1/3 of my savings in the 2007-2008 crash. It was then I realized that I cannot rely on my savings to pay the house payment until I am 82 since the money was not secure. I lost enough that would have paid off my house, my sons house and my other sons college debt. Shocker. I would never survive another hit like that. So I declared war on my house mortgage. This Jan 2012, I will have my house paid off 21 years ahead of time. Now if I only have enough money to hold me off until age 70 in 9 years then I could collect Social Security and then have a fighting chance of surving until 100. If the market rebounds I am still ok until 100. The obstacle was having enough money to last and using the worse case senario helped me to find a possible answer. Tenacity of reviewing my situation each and every day to look for possible flexabilty and changes to make a bad situation better will pay off in the long run. And I am actually having fun doing it. Why? Because I am giving myself some control over my life and situation. Now it is a game of wits between me and the forces which try to knock me down. And I have no intention of losing. - 10/26/2011   7:55:58 AM
  • 10
    Inspirational ... thank you! - 10/26/2011   5:36:09 AM
    I was inspired by this man's journey. - 10/26/2011   1:01:13 AM
  • 8
    I so needed to read this tonight. I've decided today to get back on the heathly wagon and stop worrying about how long it will take. As you said, it is a journey.
    Thank you - 10/25/2011   11:09:39 PM
  • 7
    I love this Nancy. In our session on "Dealing with Setbacks" I mentioned that we will never get through life without overcoming SOME obstacles along the way. Our work comes in finding our way around or through the obstacles --- which can certainly teach us volumes as we work our way along.

    Thanks for the great blog, and Jean Belliveau's story. Fascinating! - 10/25/2011   11:08:37 PM
    congrats on your hard work. reading these comments helps to remind me that i did not get in the shape over night and it will take alot of nights to get where i want but i am getting there on step at a time getting my food diary going great next stop the gym hopefully - 10/25/2011   10:20:00 PM
  • 5
    What obstacles have you had to overcome in your own journey?
    I gave up drinking and smoking and started eating a healthy diet.
    Have you allowed yourself to lean on your SparkPeople friends to carry you through some of these obstacles?
    Every day I chat with my Spark friends to keep me motivated to stay on track.
    Do you have more wisdom today than when you first started your journey?
    I have learned a lot about the body and how it works and what we need to eat to get and stay healthy, there are hundreds of great articles to read here on Sparks, the learning never stops.
    I have learned so much about myself on this journey and discovered a new me inside of all the weight I had been hiding behind.
    Today I have lost more weight than I weigh. I have lost 120 pounds and weigh 119 pounds.
    - 10/25/2011   9:33:00 PM
  • DK184132
    Wonderful! Just the encouragement I needed today! - 10/25/2011   5:20:52 PM
  • DK184132
    Wonderful! Just the encouragement I needed today! - 10/25/2011   5:20:52 PM
  • 2
    this was great - 10/25/2011   4:42:33 PM
    I found this very inspiring and i shared it with others - 10/25/2011   2:24:12 PM

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