“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
– Randy Pausch
Obstacles of any kind are a nuisance most of the time. Getting stuck in traffic, hitting your toe on furniture, feeling confused, and not being able to solve a problem all share an intimidating quality we simply can't escape. And so, like bruises caused by clumsy navigation, creative challenges are almost impossible to avoid. Being a beginner at anything compels you to face the consequences of inexperience, while mastering a craft often threatens to destroy your source of inspiration. From time to time, giving up seems to be the best option.
As Randy Pausch gracefully stated, however, there's a reason certain obstacles exist. This doesn't mean you must look for the meaning of your life in a bruised thumb, but it does mean that you should persist when creative hurdles come into the picture. If you feel limited, insecure, or afraid, don't abandon a project you care about. You have far more strength than you dare to imagine.
If you're going through a creative drought or a discouraging phase, I hope this list of reasons provides you with at least a spark of hope and motivation. Though you needn't force yourself to love obstacles to the point where they cease to be discouraging, you can at least learn to understand them a little better. Instead of viewing them as relentless beasts whose sole intention is to destroy your hope, imagine that they're brick walls testing your desire. Nothing more, nothing less.
Taissia is a professional photographer and educator.