Book Summary – The Obstacle is The Way (Part 4: Will and Acceptance)

Will is the internal power which cannot be affected by the outside world. It refers to the ability to surrender yourself, not some sort of ambition or inner strength. Will requires (1) humble acceptance of the circumstances, (2) anticipation of negativities, and (3) resilience, and (4) continuity.

Humble Acceptance

Among the things people have difficulty accepting, you need to accept your own constraints and everything that has happened to you.

Accept your constraints. Constraints are things which are not up to you and they make it more difficult to overcome obstacles. Humans may have increasingly felt in control of nature over time, but we have to acknowledge that some things are in the hands of God and accept our fate. So you need to play life the way it is, take people and events for what they are, and obey nature to command it. Accepting your constraints does not mean you give up; it helps you focus on things which are up to you. Channeling your energy requires acceptance of your limitations. Constraints, if accepted, can push us into new places. But if you want to gain the unexpected benefits of a limitation, you must accept the downsides of the limitation first, even if you prefer to have never been limited. For example, if writing is a strength of yours but public speaking is not, then you should just accept that fact and work with your strong point of delivering written messages.

Love everything that happens: Whether in victory, in setbacks, or in tragedy, do not wish for anything to be different than it is. If you think things are not going well, do not become frustrated by nor tolerate adversity, as frustration accomplishes nothing. Instead, find joy in and accept any circumstances (including tragedies and setbacks) at least for the little good that comes out of them. You can choose to feel good about things, so love all things you do. For example, no matter how many negatives you can take from your job, your manager, and your employer, you can love the opportunity to work for your employer.

Anticipate Negativities

It is not so bad for something bad to happen to you according to your own expectations, but nothing happens to the wise man against his expectation. It is particularly important that you do not be surprised by unexpected failure.  Manage your expectations. The only guarantee in every journey is that things will go wrong. The only mitigation is anticipation. Hence, before starting a journey, first imagine failure in advance of it happening. Envision what could go wrong, so you could predict preventable reasons and make a backup plan. Predict worst-case scenarios to prevent catastrophe. Then hope for the best, yet prepare for the worst.

If you anticipate negatives, you should also anticipate your very own death. So, meditate on your mortality: think about, remind yourself about, and embrace your mortality. Remind yourself that money, fame, and achievements all end up in the grave. Death is not in your control, so accept it and do not try to change it. You should instead prioritize your living life, and live right so you die well. Because of this, when you realize or nearly experience your mortality, your life becomes more purposeful. You will be energized, relieved, and inspired. You will emerge a different person.

Resilience

You must show strength in surrendering to and accepting adversity. Enter the two tools of preparing for and cheerfully accepting adversity. To show strengths in bad times, you must have built strength in good times. Remember, because your disadvantages are relative and temporary, you will certainly experience good times during which you can build an inner fortress, preparing yourself and your body for hard life. Practice with the goal of becoming stronger. Be a mental and physical athlete. Seek security in prayer and unity.

In bad times, handle difficulties with cheerfulness. Acknowledge that difficult things take time to overcome, and resign to carrying out tasks that change the outer world with determination and energy. Acknowledge and endure the discomfort and the pain because you have an unpleasant duty to perform.

Continuity

Work for something bigger than yourself: To be truly accepting, you could surrender to a purpose bigger than yourself and find meaning in the difficulties of the outside world. Ask yourself, “if I cannot help myself, then how can I help others: people, my family, etc.?” Show love and compassion. Think of others, and focus on other people’s sufferings so you do not have time to feel pain in your own suffering. Act with purpose. Bear in mind that your job is to make the world a better place to live. Work to impress God, the community, and the future generations. You must never lower yourself to a person whose values and purpose you do not like. No matter what, never put yourself and your body ahead of God or your community.

Persevere: Persistence means attempting to solve a problem with determination. Perseverance goes one level further. It means repeated persistence over time: the repeated attempts to solve a problem with endurance, round after round until you win. Perseverance is the most determinant of success. Next time you face a problem, do not try just one solution or one approach to solving the problem. Try all exercises and teachings available to you. When your actions are impeded, improve your actions but keep the intentions. Try new roads until you die. Only accept death as an event – the only event – that could stop you. For example, if you are looking for a job, do not apply for jobs one by one or get tired of applying after a week. Keep applying for all jobs that interest you, with full force and concentration, until you land your desired job.

Prepare to start over again: Obstacles and opportunities do not end. So always hustle and anticipate more obstacles. Life is a marathon and not a sprint. Never stop! With every obstacle, improve yourself to the best version of yourself for facing bigger obstacles.