Let’s face it, overcoming obstacles can be difficult. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always go the way we want it to or the way we planned it. It’s like that for all of us, no matter what anyone says, it’s fact. It can feel like one minute you’re up and the next you’re down, life is a rollercoaster.
So, what is an obstacle? The Collins English Dictionary describes it as “an object that makes it difficult to go where you want to go, because it’s in your way.” That sounds straightforward, but it isn’t always as simple as that.
Does the obstacle occur just because it happens to be there? Is it because you found it, did you unconsciously put it there, or is it there to help you? At the time it presents itself, you probably just see it as an annoying pain in the backside. Sometimes though, when we look back on it, we see it in a completely different light.
Thinking About Past Obstacles
Can you think of a time in your past when you faced an obstacle and how it made you feel back then? What do you feel about it now? When I left school I desperately wanted to work in radio as a DJ, which was difficult to get into.
At the time, there were very few radio stations in the UK, so the big obstacle was a lack of opportunities. Because of this, some experience was required before anyone would consider you. Gaining experience without an opportunity to do so, became an opportunity for me.
I built a homemade studio and practised until I sent the rest of my family nuts! It took me six years, but I eventually got my break on a radio station in the Middle East. My life changed, I overcame the obstacle and achieved my dream. I no longer see the original obstacle as an obstacle, I see it as an opportunity.
When an Obstacle is an Opportunity
We mostly see obstacles as something negative, but as with many things, it depends how you look at them. Overcoming obstacles has to be a positive thing, which can mean that there was nothing negative about the obstacle itself.
When there seems to be something blocking the road ahead, there are three options. You can give up, you can find a way to get past it or you can take a completely new direction. If you go for the latter, it must be an opportunity. An opportunity to learn, to grow, to become stronger and to tackle something completely different.
If you work to get past it, you begin to find solutions where previously you didn’t see a problem. You learn and grow from this too. It helps to set you up to tackle any future obstacles you don’t currently see.
Even if you just give up, it’s not necessarily failure because it might also present you with an opportunity to do something completely different that you’d not thought about. Sometimes we know inside when something isn’t working and it’s time to stop – that’s the opportunity to find something new.
Why is the Obstacle There?
Did you create the obstacle? It might seem like a silly question to ask but think about it for a moment. Your mind works on different levels, with the subconscious tasking itself to always bring your deepest thoughts and beliefs into fruition.
If you are trying to achieve something but deep down don’t have the confidence or belief you can do it, that’s what your subconscious will attempt to deliver.
Is it possible that the obstacle is of your own doing? For example, if you sit an exam but don’t believe you’re good enough to pass it, your subconscious might provide an obstacle such as a memory lapse or even an illness. You then fail the exam or don’t take it and your belief is confirmed.
Perhaps you’re attempting to do something, but there are lessons you need to learn before you achieve it. Overcoming obstacles that teach you something new or provide deeper insights are an important way the universe brings back to you, similar vibrations to those you have sent out. This is a of part how your thoughts and actions create your destiny.
Obstacles Can Work Against You
It’s important that you take responsibility for everything that happens to you. You may not be the direct cause, but you put yourself into this here and now, so you must take the responsibility. Others can put obstacles in your way to stop or control you, but it’s you that lets it happen.
Imagine if you had an insanely jealous partner and gave in to it every time it raises its ugly head. The obstacle to living life how you want is the jealousy, which is owned by your partner, but you’re allowing it to be an obstacle.
In this situation, your partner would be manipulating and controlling you. It’s when you accept responsibility for it that you can then remove the obstacle. If you don’t, you allow it to work against you.
Some people spend their lives creating obstacles for themselves because, without necessarily realising it, they want to keep everything the same. Even when life isn’t great, the unknown caused by change, looks worse. A nicely created homemade obstacle keeps everything as it is.
There are many reasons why some people want to keep things as they are, even when they’re not happy. The Harvard Business Review considered 10 reasons why people resist change which gives a good insight.
This is a life limiting condition that many people fall into. Everything bounces along, not changing because it can’t as a result of X or Y. “It’s not my fault, if it wasn’t for X or Y I’d definitely change things.” Yeah right, you believe that if you want to, but deep down you know the reality!
Steps for Overcoming Obstacles
- Work out who is creating it.
- Is it you or someone else?
- If it’s you, with some honest deep insights or even meditation and contemplation, try to understand if, and why you’re holding yourself back.
- Are you on the right path or is there something for you to learn?
- If it’s someone else, what’s their motive? It will probably come down to their own feeling of inferiority or a lack of confidence.
- Look for any opportunities you may be missing.
When you know why the obstacle is there and who caused it, the solution to overcoming it should get clearer. However difficult it seems to be making life for you now, keep in mind that at some point in the future you will see the reason why it was there. You might even be grateful for it.
Overcoming obstacles doesn’t need to be difficult. Look at them as a punctuation in life. See them as little speed bumps in the road to slow you down so no one gets hurt. Look beyond them and know why they are there.