Before I start, let me quickly state the obvious, in case it is missed: In that, there is no one, single, error-free, ‘100 percent success guaranteed’ method at overcoming obstacles. Simply because there is no single type of obstacle in life, just as no two people are the same.
So let us dispel any notions of a one-size-fits-all solution or a quick fix to whatever problems or in this case, obstacles, one may face in life.
When we speak of a proven method, what we are getting at a set of beliefs, that is built on certain core principles, which adopted and applied under the right guidance will aid the person’s ability to overcome their challenges pushing them closer towards the attainment of specific goals in life.
Obstacles can take many shapes and forms. The one common feature is that there are common to all. So the challenge of confronting them is not a unique one, however, the way in which people choose to do so, differs.
In this post, we will engage the nature of obstacles, that despite being different in terms of time, place, extent, and duration, they share a number of common characteristics. And by identifying them, and acquiring the right knowledge to confront them, you will possess a proven method that can help you overcome them.
What are Obstacles?
As readers of this blog would know when engaging questions of self-development, growth, and mindset we tend to start by taking a philosophical look at the problem. When it comes to the subject of obstacles, it is important that we start by understanding what is meant by this term.
An obstacle is simply something, anything that stands in the way of you achieving your goals. And by that definition, obstacles are a necessary part of the process of living.
For no matter what you set out to do, achieve or accomplish in life, there would always be some kind of object, force, resistance, or barrier standing in your way.
From the moment you wake up to the time you lie down to sleep, throughout your day and by extension through your life will be confronted with obstacles: Whether it is finding the will to pull yourself out of bed on that lazy morning, to have the will power to say no to say that cool soda first thing in the morning, rather than that healthy tea or coffee (minus the sugar and cream).
To take a more social example. The ‘problem’ that many men have when it comes to approaching and talking to women. A problem that, upon closer inspection reveals to be a metal one that exists inside the person. An inner mental block or obstacle.
The fear or hurdle the person is facing here is one that stems from within. The obstacle is not some brick wall or fixed barrier stopping the guy from going out to meet and talk to women. Sure those sorts of things do exist in certain parts of the world. But in most cases, the ‘obstacle’ is one of his own making.
Or take the example of the guy who is stuck in a miserable 9.00 – 5.00 (or longer) job. He knows he is unhappy, he knows he can do better. He knows he has the potential to do something more productive. But what is stopping him? What is the real obstacle in this context?
In other words, many of the ‘obstacles’ we encounter in life are not always the major set back, crises, aliments, or social pressures that a person may face. Often they are so many small, but restrictive mental hurdles that keep us down.
If obstacles are everywhere. The first part of dealing with them requires us to identify them quickly and correctly and confront them at all levels. Starting with the most basic ones, to the major hurdles of life.
Effectively the problem with obstacles comes down to having the right method of overcoming them. This takes us to a mindset question.
To better understand the importance of mindset in confronting the many obstacles a person will face in his life, let’s look at the nature of obstacles in practice.
A Problem Within or Without
Obstacles as noted are part of life. There is no escaping it.
So if one speaks of a strategy to confront them, it cannot be one that involves side-stepping the matter, or going through life pretending as if the source of the obstacle does not exist.
At best one could find ways of lessening the severity of the problem. However whatever choice or set of choices you would make, know that the obstacle is there, and it is there for a reason.
Let’s go back to the example of getting out of bed, on a ‘bad day’. Let’s be honest, we’ve all been there!
There isn’t a clear-cut reason why we shouldn’t get out and get the ball rolling, but there it is this sense of apathy and weakness. That lack of will to make a very simple, but seemingly difficult decision.
This is a (mental) hurdle that stalls all of us face from to time. One that is eventually overcome. However, the weakness one experiences in the face of such invisible resistance remain. One that carries over when you are faced with more pressing and serious challenges of life, and if not dealt with, the consequences could be more server than a loss of a day’s worth of productivity.
The question is why? Why do we feel this sense of resistance when faced with tasks and duties of life?
To answer this question it is the best to look at how people often deal with such forms of resistance.
One, we have already mentioned in the side stepping of the problem. Usually by coming up with some kind of (metal) excuse. Which in time becomes or creates problems of its own.
Interestingly a lot of people go through life like this. Without dealing with the obstacles in front of them, and instead opting to deal with ‘problems’ that don’t address the core issue at hand.
Now there is a difference between taking the path of least resistance (i.e. to make the smart decision over a difficult one), and an easy one. What is often overlooked is that the ‘smart’ choice is not necessarily an easy one. For it to requires work, dedication, and the willingness to get out of your comfort zone.
In fact, an argument can be made, that if you wish to do anything worthwhile in your life, it will involve some degree of trial and error, persistence, leading to more failures, calling for new learning, the pursuit of growth, and then ultimately success.
Needless to say in each of these down periods the sense of resistance one may feel, will function like obstacle. Because they are.
An obstacle of your mind, that adds to whatever challenge you may be facing in the real world. And at times the difference between the forms of resistance, one that comes from the mind (internal) to that which emerges from the source of the problem (external) may become difficult to differentiate.
This whilst seemingly problematic, also, contains the part of the solution on finding the one proven way to overcome obstacles.
It is a Mindset Question – Always
In life, our capacity to deal with problems often comes downs to the strength of our inner being, rather than the size and scope of what we are confronted with in the outside world.
This might be difficult to accept. For some problems seem virtually insurmountable. And that’s true. To an extent.
After all, some challenges like facing the onslaught of the oncoming enemy in war, being confronted by a man-eating tiger in a confined space, or being kidnapped and held hostage by terrorists may seem a bridge too far for many of us.
But even in such terrifying moments where the odds of survival or freedom seem small to impossible, it is vital that you maintain a level head, which could prove to be the difference between life and death.
In these moments, it is imperative that you believe in your capacity to extricate yourself from them. Maybe not immediately and on your own. But in time.
Whilst a lot of people don’t come out of such life-threatening encounters intact, many others do. The question is what makes them different.
Moving away from (but not forgetting) these dramatic examples, the takeaway for you and me is how do we prepare these?
Yes, as uncanny as it may sound, the one way to be the type of person who can confront and handle virtually any obstacle life can throw at you is that you start preparing yourself for these impossible moments right now.
Look at it this way: How would you fare in a situation where you, your family, or the world you live in is threatened with war? How will you position yourself if you are faced with a kidnapping or hostage scenario? How will you react if you are confronted with a knife-wielding thug who will not hesitate to cut your throat for your wallet?
You see by picturing yourself in these (awful) scenarios, you will get an idea of what it means to be faced with a real obstacle. The biggest kind of obstacle that threatens the progress of your life.
Once you have done so, now is the time to start preparing for it. Prepare to face these terrible realities. Build yourself up so you are ready and prepared to face them. Even if you don’t expect to succeed in overcoming them, it does not matter. What matters is that you put in the work to do.
But when you do so, you will start to see that the other smaller hurdles of life, become, well less cumbersome. And with good reason.
Recall the words of the Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca: ‘Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body’.
In other words prepare for the worst, whilst hoping for the best. In doing so, the day-to-day challenges of life: the many, countless obstacles, which often take the form, of little hurdles, petty conflicts, annoyances, small setbacks at work, relationships, and even health will all seem like minor roadblocks that you will navigate your way through.
But how do we do this? Going back to the title of this post, is there a fixed, applicable formula to successfully confront and overcome any and all obstacles? Let’s find out.
Life is an arena. A battlefield if you like it. Be prepared to fight.
Whilst this is true in a very literal sense for certain people in certain parts of the world. The idea is that life as a process entails conflict and resolution. Obstacles and breakthroughs are an unmissable ones. There is no escaping this.
Even the mountain-dwelling hermit, who lives (apparently) without a care in the world, needs to contend with basic questions of survival: food, sleep, security from harm, protection from the elements, etc.
And these realities exist no matter what career path you take, what part of the world you choose to live in, and what kind of social life (if any) you like to have.
In the pursuit of your goals and dreams, or for those more simple-minded, in the processes of just living through the countless hurdles that you and I face every day. The challenge is not only will we be able to overcome them; but how well we?
The proven method for overcoming obstacles is to see whatever challenges you are facing as a problem that exists within. Overcome the hurdle inside yourself.
In other words whatever the nature, character, and severity of the trials that you are confronted with, your job is to do what is necessary. That which is expected of you in those moments and in the period after, whilst dealing with the obstacle that is yourself.
We have all heard the saying ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’. But do you know that when faced with real obstacles the biggest challenge or advisory you will face, most ironically is yourself?
How many times have we heard of people who fall apart or go into self-destruct mode when even the slightest bit of pressure is applied to them. How often do people, capitulate when they are even slightly threatened, made uncomfortable, put under stress, or made to work a bit harder to get what they want?
If you want any confirmation for this, just look around you. How many failures can you spot? How many people go through life living as mediocrities, doing nothing of significance, having no real impact on the world?
Guess what almost every one of these people (failures) have in common? They never successfully navigated the plain of obstacles that life threw at them. They either became cop-outs, or simply folded and took a submissive path. Letting the obstacle (or the person behind it) rule over them and their future lives.
But why though? Why does this happen? And if you look at the state of the Western world today (caz the rest of the world is an even worse mess) what do you think has led to the epidemic of social ills from drug use, organized crime, delinquency, fatherless households, etc?
Whilst these may seem like general problems that affect society as a whole, if you break things down to the ground level, what you will find are a combination of bad choices, based on poor understanding, that result from misguided beliefs, and underlying it all a lack of proper guidance at key moments in the lives of these people who have been affected.
In other words, the inability to deal with the obstacles that life throws at you from time to time, successfully, in time, will prove the difference not only between success and failure but between living a normal life and becoming a disaster.
Now how do we stop/prevent this?
Life is a Battlefield – Be Prepared
If you have been following our content one of the central messages we extol is that there are no shortcuts in life. You have to do the work if you want to succeed. You must be ready to learn, grind, and grow to see your labor bear fruit.
But there is another dimension to this journey towards success which is the reason I hope you are hear-And that is the element of conflict.
You see in life, there is always something working against us. Some kind of force, or invisible barrier or a very visible one (i.e. in the form of your micromanaging boss) that appears to be working to hold you back. To keep you down. To stop you from reaching your fullest potential.
The religious world has its own set of explanations, introducing concepts of Good vs Evil, the Yin and the Yang, etc. Whatever the cosmic framework may be, the deeper principle is that there are forces at work that can work for you or against you.
Thus the first point of action is knowing what you are getting into, and then developing a plan on how you are going to navigate this arena?
The great Chinese strategist Sun Tzu in the Art of War made the observation that: Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win. And with good reason.
Note that when we say that life is a battlefield, it does not mean that you should be going into every situation preparing to rip someone's head off (though it wouldn’t hurt to be prepared), or that you should adopt the view that everything and everyone around is conspiring against you (no time for paranoia).
Rather it is about being realistic about who you are as a person: your beliefs, values, convictions, and goals. And what you are willing to do to get there. This takes us to the nature of your goals.
The proven way to overcome virtually any obstacle in your life is to keep your mind firmly set on the bigger. The long-term objective. And then work through the day-to-day challenges, and later the more pressing matters as they crop up from time to time.
When it comes to your personal goals, which could be in finance, in relationships, building or expanding your network, and improving your status; these need to be built on the right foundations (i.e. the right mindset).
So when you encounter real or sometimes serious obstacles, you are not going to fold or worse react destructively. But doing this, especially all on your own, is easier said than done.
This is where you, or anyone serious about not just overcoming their day-to-day challenges, but about putting together a serious plan to get through and make it in life can benefit from support. Dedicated professional, proven support.
Breaking Down the Method for Overcoming Obstacles
Obstacles are a part of life. Accept it. They are there when you wake up. They exist when you are asleep. They are around when you are still finding your way through life. They will be there when you succeed. But there are ways to engage and overcome them.
– Recognize that obstacles (or problems of any kind) are for a reason. It is a part of life. Then confront it. Don’t walk away from it. Ever
– Prioritize and measure other obstacles in relation to them. For not all ‘obstacles’ are the same. Nor should your response.
– Consider a plan of action. Much of this comes down to preparation and your state of mind.
– Take action. Confront the problem. Some of you may have heard of that ‘The Obstacle is the Way’. In a way it is.
– Work with an expert. Major obstacles in finance, relationships, network building, etc. Can be greatly helped with the aid of a coach. Someone who has seen and done it all.
The one proven way to overcome obstacles is to face them. Never shy away from it. Whilst remembering to do the hard work in other areas of your life that prepare you for those times. Never forget the importance of your state of mind. If you lose confidence in yourself then all is lost.
All obstacles have one thing in common: they seem to work against you. But you can turn the tables by focusing on your strengths and using the obstacle as a platform to learn and grow. Just remember that you are better doing with some guidance rather than just on your own.