Prickly problems demand well-equipped problem solvers. I’m Josh Martin, and my experience with cancer taught me a lot about tackling adversity. Inspired by that journey, I created the Overcoming Obstacles Handbook. Here, you’ll find a collection of stories, inspiration and advice about getting through tough times — from broken legs and broken hearts to money troubles and more.

A cancer survivor’s illustrated guide to flaming tennis balls, camping catastrophes and the many obstacles life throws our way

Chapter 1 — The coin flip
What a cancer diagnosis taught me about life exploding into a bazillion pieces

Chapter 2 — The slip-up
What a puddle of puke taught me about asking for help

Chapter 3 — The Great Burning
What a million paper monsters taught me about things going up in smoke

Chapter 4 — The crayon candle
What the lamest science project ever taught me about putting in the extra effort

Chapter 5 — The Christmas concert
What starring as a tree taught me about finding my voice

Chapter 6 — The Super Something
What blood and glue fumes taught me about vulnerability

Chapter 7 — The dare
What wearing a clay helmet taught me about bad habits

Chapter 8 — The cannonball
What Meghan in the mud taught me about letting go

Chapter 9 — The fireball
What a flaming tennis ball taught me about nurturing imagination

Chapter 10 — The frying pan
What towel-snapping taboos taught me about pushing your luck

Chapter 11 — The haybale
What a tough day in the barn taught me about having someone to watch your back

Chapter 12 — The babysitting gig
What banshee babies and buttered butts taught me about failing forward

Chapter 13 — The sledgehammer
What a construction job taught me about using the right tools

Chapter 14 — The cement truck
What a misguided act of heroism taught me about good intentions

Chapter 15 — The valet
What a parking disaster taught me about overconfidence

Chapter 16 — The growl
What a wolf in the woods taught me about knowledge and responsibility

Chapter 17 — The shortcut
What a hike through stinging nettles taught me about cutting corners

Chapter 18 — The backpack
What a giant duffel bag taught me about band-aid solutions

Chapter 19 — The big freeze
What camping in a snowstorm taught me about knowing when to quit

Chapter 20 — The snowy gauntlet
What an idiotic bet taught me about redefining success

Chapter 21 — The Christmas tree
What a holiday hunt taught me about overkill

Chapter 22 — The BB gun
What my dad getting shot in the eye taught me about owning up to our mistakes

Chapter 23 — The toboggan hill
What sledding battles taught me about approaching problems from different angles

Chapter 24 — The train
What a trip to the big city taught me about self-sabotage

Chapter 25 — The mushy cauliflower
What dinner in France taught me about the power of words

Chapter 26 — The shopping cart
What an unusual ride to the bar taught me about control

Chapter 27 — The butt clay
What a muddy gully battle taught me about karma

Chapter 28 — The president
What Bill Clinton getting in my way taught me about adaptability

Chapter 29 — The Taipei middle way
What a hostile hostel taught me about moderation

Chapter 30 — The refugee camp
What volunteering in Ghana taught me about digging deeper

Chapter 31 — The bus ride
What a long drive through the mountains taught me about patience

Chapter 32 — The barn
What a Christmas sleepover taught me about keeping your fires stoked

Chapter 33 — The list
What farts and sandwiches taught me about gratitude

Chapter 34 — The birthday
What a surprise celebration in the hospital taught me about self-care

Chapter 35 — The goodbye
What a man named Frank taught me about luck

Chapter 36 — The bloody transformation
What going from negative to positive taught me about change

Chapter 37 — The school of hard knocks
What life’s misadventures taught me about blunderful resilience