Degree of Difficulty
Dr. Kyle D. Christensen, DC, ND, MH
Poised from the platform, a diver leaps and executes a nearly flawless forward somersault dive with a half twist. The spectators erupt in applause for the local favorite. Her competitor follows with a reverse one and a half somersault with with two and a half twist. The second dive is very ragged, but she manages to get it off. Spectators smirk, guffaw and respond indifferently.
Some are very surprised, even upset, when the second more sloppy diver stands on the podium as winner of the competition. What was the difference? Degree of Difficulty. Whereas the first divers flawless performance carried a degree of difficulty of 1.7, the winners degree of difficulty was 3.0 and sealed her victory.
Sometimes in life we judge others by their flawless performance. Their beautiful face, their lean and fit physique or their intellectual excellence. Often what is hidden is their degree of difficulty.
It is human nature to judge others based only on what we can observe from our limited perspectives. Rarely can see or do we take in to consideration the back story of a persons life or circumstances. In life, the person who may appear disheveled or sloppy may in fact be performing at a much higher degree of difficulty as compared to you.
Life's Degree of Difficulty can be heightened by our upbringing. Clearly being raised in an abusive home lacking positive support and opportunity would carry a greater degree of difficulty. However, for many being afforded too great of privilege and ease can likewise hinder true growth and development. Physical traits and features can also greatly influence our degree of difficulty in life. The unattractive as well as the highly attractiveness of an individual can influence our success in life. With the one can come a poor self image and the other a heightened self image often resulting in pride (which can be far more detrimental for the development of the soul).
Some are blessed with sharp clear minds, while other struggle to grasp basic concepts. Some with brilliant minds lack social and interactive skills. Some with superb communication ability are lured into pathways of manipulating others who may be less skilled. Brains and bodies have been damaged by chemicals, be they drugs used by a pregnant parent, exposure to poisons in the form of pesticides or toxins within our food supply or chemicals related to our work place or environment.
My point is: we simply cannot know to the full extent, the degree of difficulty under which a person is living. But like the divers, it is absolutely necessary that we each strive to continue to improve, grow and progress. Degree of Difficulty cannot be used as an excuse for not trying. There are far too many that have settled into laziness or an entitlement mentality because of their disadvantaged circumstances.
In our modern culture, success is measured by the degree of wealth, popularity or accolades in the entertainment arena (sports, music, politics, or business). True success is having found your God-bestowed path of serving your fellowman. Success is having become a good person who listens to and strives to follow that inner voice (spirit). Christ taught us "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" -Mark 8:36 Becoming a disciple implies discipline, which is to overcome weaknesses and faults.
We all have varying degree of difficulty in various aspects of our lives. Many of you have overcome obstacles that have given you a perspective on life that is more compassionate and understanding than those who have not yet been drug through the same knot-holes of life. It is vital that we gain the perspective of our life as a training ground designed to give you the necessary experiences so that we can take those lessons learned and bless those who are struggling.
Because we have a loving Father-in-Heaven who cares for us, we are not led down the path of comfort and ease. We are on the trail (and a rugged one at that) that will travel through dark valleys of depression and traverse jagged cliffs of anxiety and over dangerous chasms of grief. We have learned that the pathway to heaven truly must first go through hell. However, we are not to negotiate the dangerous terrain alone, but we have been placed within the circle of influence of many others. As we assist, inspire and motive, we likewise will be assisted, inspired and motivated.
Whatever your calling (mother, father, professional, or unskilled laborer), your experience or your skills and talents, as you use them to touch and bless the lives of those within your influence, we can rise together. One of the keys is to simply listen. Begin your day with the simple prayer: "Lord, please show me who I can bless and love this day." One of the greatest blessings from God is to be an instrument in His hands in helping another. Listen, follow and obey those promptings.
Most of us may not be considered by others to be the best, the brightest, the funnest (or whatever you wish you were more of). We are who we are and have each been endowed with the ability to love. And that is what we are each called to do. LOVE.
Mother Teresa taught: "If you judge people, you have no time to love them."
Dr. Kyle ChristensenJune 25, 2014