A Powerful Life Lesson from Obstacle Course Racing

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Dear Friends,

Obstacle Course Race season is in full swing and for those that live in New England, both Tough Mudder and Spartan are coming this way.

OCRs have become a part of the fabric that makes up who I am. Few events better align with what I stand for and what I deeply enjoy quite like an obstacle course race.

And as with most things in life, once you peel back a few layers from the surface, you begin to uncover a much deeper application to what it is that you're doing.

What do I mean by that? Let me give you an example.

There are times in our lives when the best way to get to what you want is to go over, go under, or go around whatever is in your way.

However, there are also times in our lives when this just won't cut it. There is no way to go over nor under and good luck trying to go around.

It doesn't matter if we're talking literal obstacles in your way or a metaphorical comparison to some seemingly insurmountable challenge in another area of your life.

Obstacle Course Races are a good example of this. Sometimes you can go over an obstacle. Sometimes you'll find yourself going under.

Don't even think about going around an obstacle...but the option is there if you need it.

Then there are the obstacles where we have to check off the box for "None of the above." It doesn't look like any of the standard options are going to cut it.

For instance, consider the Electroshock Therapy Obstacle found at the Tough Mudder events.

This final obstacle features about 100 electrically charged wires hanging over a mud pit as the TM crew often sprays a fine mist over you because well, they can.

There's no going over, there's no going under, and you've come way too far to go around.

What are we to do?

Sometimes in life, as in a Tough Mudder, you have to go through whatever stands in your way. Sometimes, going directly through something is the only way you're going to make it.

Marcus Aurelius, one of the greatest Stoic minds, said it best “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.”

The obstacle itself becomes the way. (I highly recommend Ryan Holiday’s book, “The Obstacle is the Way” titled after this very phrase.

So, the next time you find yourself staring down any one of life's great challenges, or are doing everything you can to cross that finish line at an event, don't be afraid to grit your teeth, put your head down, and go right through whatever is standing in your way.

I’ll see you out there.

With Love,



P.S. Do you know someone who needs to read this? If so, please make sure you forward it to them.

Evan CookComment