“What would have become of Hercules do you think if there had been no lion, hydra, stag or boar – and no savage criminals to rid the world of? What would he have done in the absence of such challenges?

Obviously, he would have just rolled over in bed and gone back to sleep. So, by snoring his life away in luxury and comfort he never would have developed into the mighty Hercules.

And even if he had, what good would it have done him? What would have been the use of those arms, that physique, and that noble soul, without crises or conditions to stir into him action?”


We all face many challenges in our lives. And one of the responses to these challenges is to wish them away. To feel aggrieved that there has been an intrusion into our lives of something unexpected.

However, what if we were to welcome the challenge?

Epictetus’ quote above concerns the making of the great hero of legend, The Demi-God Hercules. He only became who he was truly meant to be by being faced with great challenges and overcoming them.

We too are presented with challenges every day. Some small and some not so small. Some are simple to overcome some are almost impossible. Some are trivial and some so large that they threaten the whole of our being.

Of course, one element of the challenges we face are that they are often much larger in our minds than they are in reality. There is no problem so bad that thinking about it won’t make it worse.

As much as we wish, we won’t have an easy life, problems and challenges present themselves all the time. So flip the thinking around. Relish the challenge. See it as an opportunity to prove yourself and a crucible in which a better you is forged.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.