“You must build up your life action by action, and be content if each one achieves its goal as far as possible — and no one can keep you from this. But there will be some external obstacle! Perhaps, but no obstacle to acting with justice, self-control, and wisdom. But what if some other area of my action is thwarted? Well, gladly accept the obstacle for what it is and shift your attention to what is given, and another action will immediately take its place, one that better fits the life you are building.”MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 8.32
There will be obstacles in your life. Oh my, will there ever be obstacles that appear to block your path and keep you from achieving what you want. You can embrace the obstacle, and you should! (This wisdom is actually so important that it forms the title of a different book by Ryan Holiday.)
But the fact is that it can still force you to change course when perhaps you don’t want to. You can’t choose otherwise, however. The cards have fallen where they lay, and you have no other option but to adapt and change course. What to do? Simply put one foot in front of the other. Focus on doing the next right thing, and you’ll find that your new path unfolds before you.
Life is a series of little moments. It’s very easy to get overly focused on the end result, the big picture, the huge goals. But the truth is that in between those big things is a whole lot of little things. And it’s those little things that keep everything moving forward. They are the ‘boring’ everyday moments which comprise our lives, but they’re critically important. And when an obstacle suddenly presents itself and forces you to change course, these little things are what keeps your plan on track.
It’s not always easy (or enjoyable) to adapt. But adapt we must. Correct and good action is still possible, and it is still productive to the goals you’ve set for yourself. It takes time, and a whole lot of patience. But you’ll get there if you just put one foot in front of the other.