Obstacles and Human Ingenuity

James JosueGuest Post by James Josue

An obstacle, by a standard definition, is anything that prevents one from attaining one’s goal. It is the dream-killer. It is sometimes one’s own personality and belief that prevent one from succeeding. At times, it is the circumstances affecting a person that prevent them from achieving their goals. Yet, the question remains: is an obstacle always destructive?

At first, it might even seem foolish to ask such a question; you may think, “How can a barrier to one’s life possibly be useful?” That is what most people think. That is also the reason why, when an obstacle arises, if they cannot get rid of it, they run. If they try to eradicate it and fail, they usually decide to quit. It might be in our nature as humans to flee from anything that hinders the happiness we think we deserve. However, I think this is a rather unusual way to think and act. We have missed so many opportunities when we flee the barriers in front of us. We need to stand and confront those barriers with our skills, knowledge and ingenuity. Only then can we eliminate these obstacles which provide us with the opportunity to grow and evolve.

How many throats would be in harm’s way had King C. Gillette run from improving the cut-throat razor? The cut-throat razor was ineffective; using it was time consuming and dangerous: it could actually cut a man’s throat. Gillette went on creating a razor that was cheap, yet, did not need to be sharpened and was easy and most importantly, safe to use.

The stethoscope, one of the icons most associated with today’s medicine was invented because Doctor Rene Laennec was confronted with the obstacle of touching a patient’s breast. He was asked to examine a woman to find out if she had some kind of heart disease. He had to examine the patient but because she was a woman, he did not want to touch her with his bare hands or place his ears on the woman’s chest. Just then, he remembered something he observed not long ago: two children were playing with wood and a pin to send signals to each other. As a result, Laennec rolled a piece of paper and used it to listen to the patient’s heartbeat. This was how Laennec was able to use his ingenuity.

Think of Sophie who thought that her roommate and she would be the best of friends when she first got to college.  But her roommate’s snoring was loud and intolerable. The snoring was despicable and intolerable. She would wake up every night because of the snoring. Though, one night, at around 3:00 in the morning, as Sophie was struggling to find a way to fall asleep again, an idea came to her. Instead of considering the snoring as something that was awful, she considered it as something that was part of the room. In her mind, she visualized herself dancing. She listened to every beat of the snoring as if she was listening to Moon Light Sonata by Beethoven. A few minutes later, she fell asleep.

Guess what? Sophie and her roommate became the best of friends.

What about Christian Barnard? He was brave enough man to perform the first heart transplant in history. He did not chicken out because he would be first one to ever attempt such a transplant on a patient.

These examples of how some people have used their skills, knowledge and ingenuity are not meant to encourage people to do foolish things and engage in reckless behaviors. They are meant to demonstrate that an obstacle is not always a problem but might be an opportunity to use our ingenuity to flourish.


BIO: James Josue, guitar player, song writer and poet is distinguished scholar known for his love of poetry. He wrote many poems and songs for his local churches. He’s always been fascinated with words and the challenge of understanding their etymologies and meanings. http://www.jamesjosue.com


Posted on March 10, 2014, in Blogging Authors. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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