WHAT WOULD OUR lives be like without challenges? A person’s greatest strength develops at the point where they overcome their greatest weakness.

What we do when confronted with these challenges has a lot to do with how we perceive our place in the world. We can face the challenges or we can give in to them without a fight.

Most challenges provide us with opportunities. Opportunities can be disguised as hard work and be fraught with obstacles.

An old story tells about a king who placed a heavy stone in the middle of a much traveled road. Many who came by berated the authorities for not keeping the road clear, but no one pushed the obstacle out of the way.

After a time, a poor peasant stopped and rolled the stone to the side of the road. It only took a few minutes and was easily accomplished.

To his surprise, he found a bag of gold, a reward put there by the king for anyone performing this needed service.

A new look at our lives, jobs and communities will disclose many “stones in the road.” Their removal requires personal involvement.

Many able people will avoid getting involved. They will not recognize the opportunity. They will “let others do the work.” And they will envy those who reap the rewards when the needed work is accomplished.

Which stones can we put our shoulders to in the days ahead? Some stones, challenges, can’t be moved by one person.

There is a time in the life of every problem when it is big enough to see, yet small enough to solve. Perhaps we can learn something from this old story.

In the fall, when you see geese heading back south for the winter, flying along in a v-formation, you might be interested in knowing what scientists have discovered about why they fly that way.

It has been learned that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the bird immediately following.

By flying in a v-formation, the whole flock adds at least 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own.

Basic truth No. 1: People who share a common direction and sense of communication get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the trust of one another.

Whenever a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the birds immediately in front.

Basic truth No. 2: If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are headed the same way we are going.

When the lead goose gets tired, the goose rotates to the back and another goose flies to the point.

Basic truth No. 3: It pays to take turns doing hard jobs with people or with geese flying south.

The geese honk from behind to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

Basic truth No. 4: We need to be careful what we say when we honk from behind.

Finally, when a goose gets sick or is wounded by gunshot or falls out, two geese fall out of formation and follow down to help and protect it.

They stay with that goose until it is either able to fly or until it is dead and they launch out on their own or with another formation to catch up with their group.

Final truth No. 5: If we have the sense of a goose, we will stand by each other.