Challenges Breed Creativity & Connection

Challenges Breed Creativity & Connection, writer Jenny Leigh Hodgins

Challenges change based on our chosen outlook.

Challenging circumstances are an opportunity to awaken and polish our maximum potential. They can also help us develop qualities like compassion, courage, creative thinking, discipline, flexibility, patience and honed focus. Challenges also spur a heightened energy due to the urgency for a much-needed break-through.


Much like a good physical workout will push the limits of our endurance, stamina and strength in order to improve overall health, difficulties in daily life provide a spiritual and mental workout. This can result in a stronger life-force, an optimistic state of mind and a more balanced personality.

This outcome is dependent on our chosen outlook of the particular situation. When our mind-set is resolutely centered on remaining positively undaunted by external or internal obstacles, we’re able to tap wisdom with fresh ideas for opening the way forward.

SGI President Daisaku Ikeda states, “Never for an instant forget the effort to renew your life, to build yourself anew. Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway of life itself. This is not an easy task. Indeed, it may be the most severely challenging struggle there is. For opening the door to your own life is in the end more difficult than opening the door to all the mysteries of the universe.”



Creativity is found through the struggle to push open this door to our inner life. Perhaps this is partly why the greatest art is born of the struggling artist. Artists tend to search inwardly to a deeper level (sometimes even while fighting for survival), embrace the full spectrum of both emotional and psychological experiences, and question or attack civilization’s problems with greater gusto than most. As a result of the artist’s vehement battle, a well-spring of imaginative innovation is unleashed.

But the creative life is not the sole patented property of artists. Creativity is found in the willingness to fight against our own perceived limitations, or those of the outside world, with the intent to improve ourselves or our environment, no matter the resistance inevitably endured. This is the ‘never give up’ spirit of great figures in history who spearheaded revolution.

Thinking outside the box is all that’s required to open that box. This act itself ignites courage, resilience, and the energy for empathy. Compassion can arise from having gone through these deeper struggles, allowing us to become aware of the human experience to a greater degree.


This universal connection to others, the realization that one is not isolated or alone in life, is one of the reasons art, music, literature and poetry can be so powerful. So whether it’s to tap creativity, become a person with broader awareness and ability, fulfill our maximum potential, or affect change in the world, life’s hardest problems are in actuality, a wonderful opportunity for positive, exponentially more significant metamorphosis.

Since nothing is certain in life but change itself, the perspective to use it for the betterment of self and society is the most positive, productive way to go. Everything depends on the outlook we choose; Do we selfishly dwell on our problems, making ourselves and others suffer? Or, do we look at everything as a chance to expand our character, develop the best of ourselves, and encourage compassion and connection with others. The chance to create value as a foundation for our future is in the struggle.

Jenny Leigh Hodgins

Reach for the Sun


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