I am a weapon. Anything that stands in my way is a choppable obstruction.
Of course, no one starts out a weapon. Way back in the day, I was just a hunk of steel. I had to sharpen myself until I had a rough edge, more butter knife than katana, capable of cutting down some of the barriers standing between me and happiness.
Those flimsy barriers were made up of simple problems, walls of cardboard easily diced by a rudimentary weapon like the one I had become, and there were plenty more obstructions still standing, all made of sterner stuff than the ones I’d already decimated.
So I sat back down and sharpened some more. The whetstone I used was made up of new experiences, difficulties, heartbreak, victories, knowledge, and all the other ingredients that shape a well-rounded life.
Eventually I had a keener edge, and with it the ability to carve my way through the thicker, denser barriers that blocked my path. The more I chopped, the further I could see. The more I sharpened, the more I could chop. Sharpen, chop. Sharpen, chop.
Life is made up of such cycles. You live and hurt and heal and come out a more capable version of yourself in the aftermath. Then you take what you’ve learned and make practical use of it. You strengthen your relationships or improve your career or change your direction, moving ever-closer to happiness.
If you endlessly sharpen but neglect to destroy the walls that stand in your way, you’ll whittle away at yourself with nothing to show for it.
If you hack away at problems without taking the time to sharpen, you’ll work hard for little or no payoff and blunt your edge in the process.
It’s best to maintain balance.
Expose yourself to life and let the good and bad wash over you. Embrace it. Learn from it. Allow yourself to change as a result of these external influences.
Then, put what you’ve learned into practice. Improve your life, and the lives of those around you.
You are a weapon. And like any useful thing, your value is determined by what you do with your abilities. Don’t underestimate yourself, and understand that any barrier, any problem you encounter, is just another wall waiting for the day you’re sharp enough to cut through it.
Update: February 22, 2017
Using a weapon metaphor always chances being misinterpreted, but I still like the visual of chopping through barriers and sharpening oneself to face challenges. It’s a mental image that makes sense to me, and it aligns well with the complimentary concept of seeking balance.