I just started another M.Scott Peck book last night – it is the timeless classic “The Road Less Traveled” This is a book that is regarded as top notch work by Christians and Psychologists worldwide. If you haven’t read it or “People of the Lie” I suggest you get started!
Anyhow, I wanted to share with you the opening words from “The Road Less Traveled” This is from the first section called “Discipline”
“Life is difficult.
This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult – once we truly understand it and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.
Most do not fully see this truth that life is difficult. Instead the moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly, about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life were generally easy, as if life should be easy. They voice their belief, noisily or subtly, that their difficulties represent a unique kind of affliction that should not be and that has somehow been especially visited upon them, or else upon their families, their tribe, their class, their nation, their race, or even their species, and not upon others. I know about this moaning because I have done my share.
Life is a series of problems. Do we want to moan about them or solve them? Do we want to teach our children to solve them?
Discipline is the basic set of tools we require to solve life’s problems. Without discipline we can solve nothing. With only some discipline we can solve only some problems. With total discipline we can solve all problems.
What makes life difficult is that the process of confronting and solving problems is a painful one. Problems, depending upon their nature, evoke in us frustration or grief or sadness or loneliness or guilt or regret or anger or fear or anxiety or anguish or despair. These are uncomfortable feelings, often very uncomfortable, often as painful as any kind of physical pain, sometimes equaling the very worst kind of physical pain. Indeed, it is because of the pain that events or conflicts engender in us all that we call them problems. And since life poses an endless series of problems, life is always difficult and full of pain as well as joy.
Yet it is in this whole process of meeting and solving problems that life has its meaning. Problems are the cutting edge that distinguishes between success and failure. Problems call forth courage and our wisdom; indeed, they create our courage and wisdom. It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually… As Benjamin Franklin said, “Those things that hurt, instruct.” It is for this reason that wise people learn not to dread but actually to welcome problems and actually welcome the pain of problems.
Most of us are not so wise. Fearing the pain involved, almost all of us, to a greater or lesser degree, attempt to avoid problems. We procrastinate, hoping they will go away. We ignore them, forget them, pretend they do not exist. We even take drugs to assist us in ignoring them, so that by deadening ourselves to the pain we can forget the problems that cause the pain. We attempt to skirt around the problems rather than meet them head on. We attempt to get out of them rather than suffer through them.
And this tendency to avoid problems and the emotional suffering inherent in them is the primary basis of all human mental illness. Since most of us have this tendency to a greater or lesser degree, most of us are mentally ill to a greater or lesser degree…”