There are a few things in life that I know with absolute certainty:
There is a God.
I am not him.
The Dallas Cowboys will continue to break my heart.
And I will face conflict on a regular basis.
But it’s the inevitability of conflict that has been killing me lately. I can’t avoid it. It seems like everywhere I turn is another disagreement or another person willing to let me know what I’m doing wrong.
Perhaps I’ve watched A Knight’s Tale one too many times, but I find the joust fascinating. I honestly can’t believe that people used to partcipate in this sport. Or that they actually still do it.
Think about this sport for a second. Two men in full armor mount specially-dressed horses and gallop full speed at each other in an attempt to smack each other with 3 to 4 meter long wooden lances and knock each other to the ground. This is sheer lunacy. And incredible awesomeness.
But the thing that really amazes me is this particular portion of jousting strategy — you are going to take some hits. Because you don’t mount 1,000 pounds of equine holding a large wooden stick without expecting to take a few knocks.
The successful knights were the ones who didn’t attempt to dodge the lances of their opponents. If they shifted their weight too much, they were bound to fall off their horse. If they charged straight ahead without regard, they would be unhorsed. Instead, the strategy was to maintain your forward momentum and lock onto your target. And then when the collision began to occur, to roll with it so it would just glance off your armor.
It was the capacity to accept the inevitability of the collision while maintaining forward momentum that defined the victors.
It’s not about avoiding conflict or even running headlong into it. It’s the ability to react properly to the conflict that defines success. Let’s face it – you’re going to face some conflict in life. People will oppose you. Others will disagree with you. Someone is bound to dislike you.
Your life is defined not by how you avoid these collisions. It is defined by your ability accept the conflict, learn from it and keep moving forward.
Because that person who disagrees with you may have a point. But even if you’re wrong, you can keep moving forward.
Or that person who dislikes you may see a flaw you don’t. But you can accept mistakes because they don’t define you.
And even that person who opposes you may win the day. But you can get back up and keep going.
So today, may you learn to joust. May you see the conflict headed your way and accept the inevitablity of the collision. And may you learn from the hits and keep on going.
Because the victors aren’t the ones who avoid the pain. They are the ones who learn from their scars.