Anyone that has accomplished anything of significance has faced obstacles in his lifetime. Most would tell you that at the time of confrontation it seemed like defeat was inevitable. Charles A. Lindbergh once said, “Success is not measured by what a man accomplishes, but by the opposition he has encountered, and the courage with which he has maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds.” Truer words have not been spoken. It is the ability to overcome that separates the winners from the losers, mediocrity from peak performance.
A boy named Sparky had his share of obstacles in life. For Sparky, school was all but impossible. He failed every subject in the eighth grade. He flunked physics in high school, getting a grade of zero. Sparky also flunked Latin, algebra and English. He didn’t do much better in sports. Although he did manage to make the school’s golf team, he lost the only important match of the season.
Throughout his youth Sparky was awkward socially. No one seemed to care much for him. Just hearing a classmate saying hello would astonish him. In high school, he never asked a girl for a date. Sparky was too afraid of being turned down. He was a loser and everyone knew it. He made up his mind early in life that if things were meant to work out, they would.
There was one thing important to Sparky. He loved to draw. He was proud of his artwork. Of course, no one else appreciated it. In his senior year of high school he submitted some cartoons to the editors of the yearbook. They were turned down. Despite this particular rejection, Sparky was so convinced of his ability that he decided to become a professional artist. After completing high school, he wrote a letter to Walt Disney Studios. He was told to send some more samples of his work, and the subject for a cartoon was suggested. Sparky drew the proposed cartoon and submitted it. Finally the reply came from them. He had been rejected once again.
Ultimately Sparky decided to tell about his own life in a cartoon. The main character, a loser who had never met the expectations of others, described his childhood. The cartoon soon became famous worldwide. The boy named Sparky is who we now know as Charles Schulz. The cartoon many have grown up with is “Peanuts.” And of course, the little cartoon character that never succeeded was Charlie Brown.
What would have happened if Mr. Schulz had given up? Do you believe that because of his talent, people would have knocked on his door? That’s doubtful. He had to pursue his dream until someone would listen. Although in many areas of his life he could be considered a loser, he knew he was a winner at drawing. That was his talent. That was his vision. That became his destiny in life.
Where are you in life? Where are you going? Are you fearful of what may happen if you attempt and fail? For all that strive forward; faith must be the underlying factor. Fear sees the obstacle, while faith sees the opportunity. Our attitude limits our behavior. These limitations cause us to miss out on the magnificent gifts that life has to offer.
It’s the small things in life that create the positive mindset we so desperately need. A small thing once killed a giant. When David saw Goliath, he didn’t see what everyone else saw. He saw someone that was in the way and needed to be removed! We all have giants in our lives that need to be removed. The only way to remove them is to face them head on.
Giants then have a funny way of getting smaller and smaller. These giants that we are referring to are obstacles, and will devour the very spirit of your being if you allow them. Approach them with caution and wisdom, but by all means do not avoid them. That will only make them appear larger. Maintain the attitude that you can do all things through your creator. Your attitude is the very essence of your success. When you find out a man’s thoughts, you find the true measure of a man. If you want to find out how one thinks, just hang around them for a while. The mouth has a way of telling the true story of our heart.
Our attitude determines much of the way we view ourselves. We must run from arrogance but strive for self-confidence. The difference between the two is like night and day. Arrogant people believe the world revolves around them while self-confident people believe they can make a difference in the world. We make a difference when we use our weaknesses to the benefit of others and ourselves.
When faced with obstacles, our world seems to cave in. If we realize that they are merely learning experiences, we can make opportunities out of them. On the other hand, if we view them the way the world does, we will cave into fear and failure. The only way to overcome these destructive forces is to face them and view them as opportunities. Very seldom will you find a giant that doesn’t produce an opportunity once confronted and overcome. Realize you are in a battle, a war for right and against wrong, good and bad, success and failure. The battle never ends, but you can learn the rules to the fight. As with the Story of Sparky, with perseverance and an understanding of what is on the other side, the war will not seem as enormous as it once did.