Any obstacle is a weight that can either weigh you down or build your strength

When I see, or hear about people battling additions, trapped in a vicious circle of criminal activity, or living in a homeless shelter, I don’t see victims.  I don’t see people with adversity.  I don’t see people with obstacles in their lives, I see people with two types of weights within their reach.  On one hand a person can choose the weight of a ball and chain, or the weight of a barbell.

People who choose to view their weight as a ball and chain allow their obstacle to hold them back, to drag them down and before they know it, they are using their obstacle as an excuse.

The people who see their weights as a ball and chain are easy to spot. You can hear them say things like: “I’m going to be an addict the rest of my life.” or “The life of crime is the only life I know and nobody will ever give me a break”.

The people who see their weights as balls and chains will never reach their goals, their fullest potential and often they will fail completely.

Other people who look at their “weights” and see a barbell, use it to strengthen themselves, to motivate themselves, to work hard and not only reach their goals and their fullest protentional but often exceed it.

I read about a teenage girl whose mother had lost her job.  The family struggled and had to move into the largest homeless shelter in Washington D.C.

At first, for this fourteen-year-old, the loss of her home was a weight on her.  That weight dragged her down.  It was so much for her that she dropped out of several high schools.

At this point some people in her situation might begin saying “Well this is it.  I am going to be homeless the rest of my life.  I am going to have to hope people will give me handouts or I will be forced into a life of crime to survive.”

But the teenage girl, living in a homeless shelter, in Washington D.C. didn’t think that way.   Since traditional high school wasn’t working for her, she enrolled in an alternate high school program.  She began taking classes during the summer and on weekends.  Two years later, Destyni Tyree was awarded the Principal’s Award for Academics and the Leadership Award.  Tyree was also the prom queen and captain of the cheerleading squad and graduated at age sixteen, with a 4.0 GPA and a full-ride scholarship to college

When Tyree told a reporter “I don’t want to live in a shelter when I get older, I want to better my life, so that gave me the drive to do what I want to do.” conveniences me that Tyree didn’t see her weight as a ball and chain, she was seeing it as a barbell.

I want to challenge you, to view any obstacle that stand between you and a goal as a weight, making sure you see that weight not as a ball and chain, but as a barbell, then do the hard work that it takes with that barbell to help you overcome adversity!