“History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heart-breaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.” — B. C. Forbes
In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway where hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock.
Some of the King’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but no one did anything to remove the stone out of the way.
Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, he laid down his load and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he succeeded.
After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a reward lying in the road where the boulder had been. It contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.
The peasant learned what many of us struggle to grasp: Concealed within every obstacle is an opportunity, yet many are unwilling to explore it.
Whilst the story depicts a sentimental view of overcoming obstacles, it underscores the importance of pushing past your impediments.
Obstacles are present in everyday life, be it a barrier that sets you back, halts your progress or derails your best laid plans. They are discouraging and cause loss of precious time and resources.
Beyond the frustration what purpose do obstacles serve?
Could there be a greater lesson contained within the experience?
Perhaps you need to get acquainted with a skill or gain valuable knowledge before proceeding with your plans.
Appreciate that obstacles serve a role other than cause emotional distress. To contest reality will not earn you support since life always prevails. Leaning in to your challenges however, helps you move through the obstacle rather than allow it to dominate your life.
Author Jeff Olson writes in The Slight Edge: “There are going to be all types of obstacles placed in front of you during your lifetime. And you can determine the size of a person by the size of the problem that keeps them down. Successful people look at a problem and see opportunity.”
By leaning in to your challenges, you embrace life through your non-resistance. The obstacle reveals vital lessons to identify its significance.
The following points will help you overcome obstacles and reclaim your power. Sometimes when we’re knocked around by life, it can weaken our self-esteem, so it’s important to stand in your own power.
Be willing to leave behind pursuits that do not deliver results. Far too many people discount the value of redirecting their attention when all attempts are exhausted. Pride, self-worth and time invested are the main reasons for flogging a dead horse.
When faced with an obstacle, emotions run high since you’re likely to react to the ensuing drama. Step back from the chaos and see the obstacle from a greater perspective.
An accomplished Australian artist once noted that when she oil paints, she prefers to take regular breaks. She said this allows her to return to her work with fresh eyes each time and approach the painting from a different perspective. You might adopt the same tactic with your obstacle and come back to it with renewed enthusiasm when the time is right.
Often you may lack provisions, finances, strategies or a key piece of knowledge to conquer your obstacle. The key is to acknowledge that it is ‘resource related’. For example, you may need a key software program to automate a process, freeing you up to focus on more important work. Consult those who can help you overcome the hurdle. As they say, enlist a fresh pair of eyes to see what you may be missing.
It can overwhelm you when an unforeseen obstacle emerges. To get caught up in the ensuing crisis redirects vital resources to make critical decisions. Gaining perspective helps you step away from the ‘noise’. You might seek help from others, talk to friends or loved ones who can offer a different assessment of your challenge.
Perspective does not imply dissociating from the obstacle in resignation. It means viewing it from numerous vantage points while considering other options. It was author Robert Brault who wrote: “We are kept from our goal, not by obstacles but by a clear path to a lesser goal.”
“Most of our obstacles would melt away if, instead of cowering before them, we should make up our minds to walk boldly through them.” — Orison Swett Marden
Can something be done to overcome the obstacle now or does it require expert help? Consider it objectively as though you were seeing it for the first time. Use logic and sound judgement to avoid becoming emotionally enslaved to the task. “Winners know they’re going to face hurdles, obstacles, failures, tragedies, and disasters — the same as everybody else,” states Larry Weidel in Serial Winner: 5 Actions to Create Your Cycle of Success.
Often an obstacle is not intended to weaken your actions. It is an invitation to get clear on the process to advance to the next stage. It is advising you to attend to a particular aspect now instead of the future when you have invested valuable time and energy. You might recall Thomas Edison’s well-known passage of 1,000 ways that did not work to invent the light bulb.
Be unrelenting in your commitment — do not give up. “Obstacles are figments of your thinking. That’s why as soon as your old thinking departs, new thinking arrives and obstacles fade away,” affirms sports psychologist Garret Kramer in The Path of No Resistance: Why Overcoming is Simpler than You Think.
Don’t allow setbacks to get you down since you are bound to fall upon many setbacks in life. Obstacles help enrich your mental experience in so far as building resilience, fortitude and strength. Every time you tackle a problem, you overcome a mental hurdle.
In her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success author Carol Dweck delves into two different mindsets required for success: Fixed or Growth mindsets. She provides a comprehensive foundation how to develop a Growth mindset, which is aspiring toward continuous improvement and building on your successes.
She states: “The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the Growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.”
Originally published at medium.com