Over, under, around or through…

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” 

Randy Pausch

Have you ever hit the wall? Gone as far as you think you can and then had some obstacle or challenge come up that just stops everything? Running into the wall over and over is frustrating and it is easy to see how some people will just give up. But simply giving up is never the right option.

I will occasionally use a quote more than once and typically it is because of some challenge I am facing (or one I know others are facing) or is because it is particularly resonant with me at a specific time. I used today’s quote previously in October and it is fascinating to look back and reflect on why I chose it then, and what has changed since that time. (previous post here)

Today I choose this quote based on observations around organizational change and how slowly change can manifest. However, my reflections today are that perhaps change is slowed down because I am only leveraging one method to try and influence change. Overcoming challenges means you must be open to thinking different, trying new things, looking at changes in yourself first. The old axiom from Maslow, “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” applies here. If my only mechanism to drive change is to use the tools I currently possess, then I am limited in my ability to influence change. Growth requires getting new tools and finding new ways to scale the wall.

The brick walls aren’t there to stop you, they might just be there so that you learn new ways to go under, over, around, or through them…

Climb the wall!

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” 

Randy Pausch

If you haven’t read the Randy Pausch book “The Last Lecture” I HIGHLY recommend that you do so.  It is easily one of the most compelling and inspirational books I have read in my life.  I haven’t read it in a number of years but it is going to the very top of my queue to reread starting this weekend.  If you are interested there is also a video of his lecture that is well worth the time.  You can check that out here.

I believe the ability to overcome obstacles and achieve despite the barriers in front of you is one of the most critical to long-term success in life.  Whether you call it grit, determination, or perseverance it is a fundamental element that those who are successful (and defining success is for another post…) seem to have as a deep core character trait.  It is an attitudinal element that manifests through behavior.  Those that have it seem to live life with an “over, under, around or through” ethos that allows them to overcome any of the brick walls that life throws at them.

How do you approach the walls in life?  Is it with defeatism or an intense focus that allows you to drive and show just how badly you want something?

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