The Obstacle is the [only] Way

This post originally appeared on my buddy Will Parker’s website on September, 21st. Thanks for posting, Will!

I made a poster recently. I was trying to figure out a tangible and visible way to remind myself of the lessons I’ve been learning these past few months (will get to those in a second). So, instead of spending $50+ on a professionally designed poster – I decided to design and print my own. First, I used a tool called “Canva” to layout the poster visually. Canva is a free tool that allows you to pretend you are a designer despite a lack of skill and tools. After toying around for a couple of days, I finally had something I was comfortable with:

Next, I took a .pdf of my poster to UPS and had them print it on cardstock for me. This cost $2.08.

Finally, I dropped by Walmart and picked up a cheap poster frame for $5.00. So, in total I spent $7.08 on my new poster for my office.

The poster is titled “The Obstacle Is The Way,” which I stole from a book I read recently by Ryan Holiday. Underneath, it says, “Take The Next Step.” The images are two photos I took on separate runs out in the woods. The top is of a sunrise on a 20 mile run, and the bottom is a shot of my watch when I finished my first marathon.

This year, I’ve been learning to fully embrace the obstacles, trials, and plain old grunt work that is often necessary to accomplish anything of meaning. It’s easy to get distracted with what others are doing, what I’d like to be doing, or how far I am from accomplishing something. Instead, much like running, it’s vital to focus only on taking one more step. Only doing the “next right thing” that I can control. Everything else will take care of itself.

Sidebar: Be easy on my design skills. I have none. However, if for some reason you like this image – feel free to download it for yourself.

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