4 Tips For Overcoming Obstacles
Whatever goals you are pursuing, you have come across and will continue coming across obstacles. This is normal. In fact, it is so normal that if you’re not facing obstacles, then it’s probably because you are stagnant.
And while a majority are complaining about obstacles hindering them from being successful, some are just overcoming them and succeeding.
Those who are succeeding are not any better than those complaining. But if the result of their encounters with obstacles bring them success, then there must be something the complainers can do to also succeed.
You have heard that obstacles are there to be overcome. That they are opportunities in disguise. But the opportunities could be so disguised that you doubt their very existence. If this is you, then relax and know that this article is for you.
Whether you are in business or desire to overcome some personal obstacles, read on and you will get a new perspective to life.
COMMON OBSTACLES IN LIFE
If you have had both victories and failures dealing with obstacles, then you will also benefit from this article. At the end of it, you will know just how to make the victories more consistent.
First, let’s look at some of the common obstacles. Although the list can be very long, you will realize that some obstacles actually are a result of these listed here.
Fear is not just an obstacle but an enemy. A very real enemy. This obstacle can be the only one in your life but still easily manage to keep you from your goals. Fear resides deep inside you and poses a great risk to your success.
Fear makes you unable to start any project because of very many reasons. These reasons are rarely true. As much as they may be factual, the whole idea is never true because fear never gives you all the necessary information.
To keep you under its control, fear will only tell you what will work against you so that you believe it and settle for less. This is one big reason why there are so many people with grand business ideas which never see the light of day. The ideas remain in their minds.
Fear comes in many forms. The fear of not making enough profit; fear of not being able to pay your bills on time; fear of failure; fear of being embarrassed when you fail; fear of being labeled a loser etc.
But did you know that there will always be something to be afraid of?
Fear mainly comes from your natural desire for security. You need assurance about paying bills, having food, having a home and many other things which make you comfortable. For you to be comfortable, you need to be sure what tomorrow holds.
That is why uncertainty makes you fearful. For example, when you hear of new technology being introduced at work, you are afraid of getting laid off.
Ask the entrepreneurs and they will tell you. Listen to the successful business leaders and they will confirm it. You will never know all that tomorrow holds. That means you will always be anxious about something.
Will your sales rise or drop? Will your competitor’s business be more profitable than yours? Will your best employees be lured by your competitor and leave you? All these are very real possibilities. Real and reasonable fears. But are you supposed to give them all the attention they seek?
If you give in to fear, you will get crippled and never move. You will be too afraid to work on that great business idea afraid that it may never amount to anything. Too afraid to start that promising relationship afraid of a heartbreak.
You may also be afraid of sharing an opinion during a meeting fearing that it may sound stupid. Unknown to you, it may be the idea that gets your company that coveted contract. This may get you the project manager’s position and ultimately the promotion you have always been dreaming of.
Memories of past mistakes
No-one under the sun is perfect. No matter how learned or experienced. We all learn as we continue on the journey of life. Those who succeed are the ones who learn and implement the lessons.
Learning is simply the acquiring of knowledge. This may come in the form of official schooling or practical experiences. When you apply this knowledge in life situations, then you are said to be wise because you skillfully avoid many unnecessary mistakes.
All the same, you can never avoid all mistakes. In fact, despite your wisdom, you will very likely make some big mistakes just like everyone else. But what is your response afterwards?
Your fall may have caused you a lot of pain. Be it emotional, physical or psychological, the overall effect may have been huge. It may have been something you did and now regret or something you failed to do and the consequences still follow you. Such cases may bring about self-loathing.
Painful memories can make you unable to move and stand as a big obstacle in your way. It might be that any time you try stepping out, you automatically remember something and get pulled back.
Such situations require counseling. Talking to a counselor will help you handle the situation so you can heal and live life normally.
Attitudes are perspectives or ways of thinking that have been developed over time. Just as there is positive and negative thinking, there is a right and wrong attitude. The right attitude goes hand in hand with positive thinking and the wrong attitude with negative thinking.
When you have the wrong attitude towards something, you become unable to put the necessary effort required to gain any benefit from it. Instead of seeing any opportunity, you will only see the problem. Yet these problems will only be getting worse because you cannot provide a solution.
A wrong attitude will make you magnify problems which are actually very small. You will see all the things which are wrong in a situation and nothing good in it. This perspective will keep you from attempting to change the situation.
According to you, there is simply too much that needs to be done that it can’t be done by one person. Especially not you because you apparently can’t do anything about it.
Surprisingly enough, you will still see the need for something to be done. You may even speak out about the situation in an effort to get people to do something about it. In doing so, you fail to realize that you are giving away your power to make the necessary changes.
An example of this can be seen in the communities where the environment is not as clean as it should be. In some areas, the government has a responsibility in keeping the environment clean. However, what happens if for some reason that doesn’t happen?
Some people will let the situation become worse. At the same time, others will be littering the environment since there are people who should be handling it. These are the same people who will be complaining loudest as the problem worsens. How far will such people go towards success?
Watch the below video to know how big a difference a positive attitude can make.
Are you aware of your strengths? Self-doubt is the doubt of your personal abilities. You may be well skilled in something but since you haven’t acknowledged your abilities, you don’t think they amount to much.
Everyone is born with certain abilities. Referred to as talents or gifts, these enable you to learn some skills faster or perform tasks with less effort compared to others. For example, you may be talented in singing and some friends have mentioned it to you.
This natural ability can make it easy for you to outperform others in a competition. If starting a singing career, it may enable you rise to the top faster than others. But if you don’t acknowledge its existence or haven’t learned its value, you will not be able to take advantage of it.
One of the causes of self-doubt is low self-esteem. Low self-esteem causes you to have low self-confidence thus preventing you from going for what you want to achieve.
Lack of self-discipline
Self-discipline is one of the building blocks of success. Hard work is necessary but without self-discipline, the journey towards success will be quite short. Self-discipline produces consistency and this is what results in diligence.
Lacking in self-discipline will make you have a series of “on and off” moments. You will wake up early one day and do what needs to be done. But the following day, you will wake up late and do very little or nothing at all.
Lacking in self-discipline is what makes you plan your day and start off well but fail to complete the tasks you planned to work on.
Lack of self-discipline can cause a lot of frustrations as you see the victory right ahead of you but are unable to experience it. You may have wanted to achieve some goals by a certain time and was sure it was reasonably possible. But lacking self-discipline will ensure you never achieve them.
Good, better, best. Or should it be good, great, perfect?
You may have to decide as this could be a personal preference. All the same, if you choose to go by “good, great, perfect,” then know that you may fall into a trap which many have fallen into.
The word perfect refers to a situation where everything is 100% or more, above the normal expectation of good. This can never be attained and all pursuit of it is in vain. Perfectionism is a very dangerous lie.
Even science and all technology can never get you there. That is why there is not even one type of computer that can do all things. There has to be one type for specific work and even then, it still has shortcomings. A perfect computer can only exist in imagination.
It may have to be of unlimited storage, faster than lightning in processing, always knowing what the user wants without being told and doing it (AI machines have to be taught) etc. Apply this to your personal life and you will know that you are not perfect therefore can never do a perfect job.
You can never have a perfect plan, a perfect team, a perfect financial state, a perfect anything. Situations are also never perfect and if you wait for the perfect time so as to do something, you will never do it.
Why? The perfect situation will never exist.
“Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap.” – Ecclesiastes 11:4 (NIV)
This is closely related to perfectionism. In fact, it is the result of it.
Analysis paralysis is where you analyze the situation over and over again in an effort to make the perfect decision. Obviously, as you do this, time is never waiting for you. And before you realize it, you have lost the opportunity that you had.
This is a problem when it comes to decision making. For anything to be done, there has to be a decision made.
Whether consciously or unconsciously, you make decisions. Unfortunately, you can get trapped in an unending cycle of gathering facts, analyzing them and reviewing the analysis. All this in pursuit of the best solution.
The people you admire as big and successful business owners have learned the importance of making decisions quickly. There are times when you will need to make decisions with no information at all. Yet you will have to trust that you made the right one.
In such cases, you decide, then work to make the decision the right one.
The connection with perfectionism is that it is the search for the perfect decision that makes you over-analyze the situation you are in. You want to have all the information so that you can make the best or perfect decision. The decision which will ensure things flow perfectly. You don’t want any hitches.
If you realize that you have been having a problem making decisions quickly, then know that your problem is perfectionism. If your problem is perfectionism, then your root problem is low self-confidence.
If you lack self-confidence, you will be unable to trust your ability to make good decisions. You will always want to have the perfect decision so that you can defend yourself against any question regarding the decision you made.
You therefore want the perfect decision to be the source of your confidence.
This set up is a sure recipe for disaster at a personal level. Since you will never be able to make a perfect decision, you will anxiously be wondering what people think of your decision.
Unfortunately, even the perfect decision, if at all it exists, will still be questioned. This is because people are different and they think differently. Your “perfect” is not everyone’s “perfect.” So quit pursuing perfectionism and save yourself from the agony of analysis paralysis.
Take courage in knowing that the path to success is full of uncertainties which have to be dealt with as they come.
TIPS FOR OVERCOMING OBSTACLES
These and many other obstacles in life are not permanent walls which block you from success. In fact, even walls can come down. One such wall was the Berlin wall.
Remember what we said about having the wrong attitude? If you have the right attitude, you will see obstacles as important and even necessary for life. You will appreciate their presence because they build you. They increase your capacity to overcome more.
That is why those who are in high positions will normally have gone through more obstacles than those below them. They hold those positions as captains who can steer the ship through the storms which are sure to come.
As you read the below tips, encourage yourself knowing that you are learning how to become better. Apply these tips in your life by starting small. As you develop more mental muscle, you will just naturally climb up the ladder of success—with very little conscious struggle.
Identify and understand the obstacle
If you really want to be successful in anything, then you better realize that you will be fighting. This fight is usually to a large extent in your mind. It is with your mind that you decide to do something. And it is still with your mind that you muster the courage and effort to do what you decided.
Since you cannot fight an enemy you don’t know, or worse still, can’t see, the first step is to identify and understand your enemy. This is your obstacle. The thing standing between you and your goals. Identifying your obstacle is not just seeing it but understanding it.
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.” Sun Tzu, The Art of War
You have to be a bit analytical here, not too much though. If you hit a wall, sit down and ask yourself some questions. What exactly is standing in my way? Is it usually there? Did I do something or fail to do something thus causing it to be there?
Have I ever heard about this obstacle? What do I know about it? Have other people overcome it? Did they go through it or around it?
After you have this knowledge, it is then time to plan.
What do you have?
You plan based on the resources you have. You don’t have everything needed for a fight—and you never will.
The greatest stories are of those people who had little resources but utilized them well enough to overcome great challenges. Wouldn’t you like your story to be like theirs?
Your resources are the things that work for you and not against you. These are your strengths. If you are running a business, then you might include in this list the strengths of your employees. In case you haven’t gotten to that level, don’t worry, you have something that your competitors don’t.
If your obstacle is a business competitor, then in the first step, you should have managed to research and know what makes him good. In this step, you are now finding out what makes (or can make) you better.
What do your friends say you are good at? If you have had any clients so far, what have they praised you for? Superior quality products? Timely delivery? Great customer service? Lower prices (without compromising your margins)?
What were you praised for in school? Convincing power? Eloquence in speech?
If you are struggling to get answers, you can engage a friend or family member. Just ask them to be sincere. If you however take some time and do this alone, you will gain better insight into yourself.
You will know that you are really well equipped.
After you have this information, check how you can implement your strengths against the strengths of the obstacle you’re facing. There will always be a way that something can be brought down even with little strength. Do not be in a hurry or feel like you are taking too much time.
Watch the below video to learn how you can utilize your strengths.
Of course, time is an important factor to consider. However, if you rush through without properly understanding the situation and planning well, you will soon be back to the drawing board. Nothing wrong with that, except that if it happens often, you are bound to get frustrated.
Having listed as many strengths as possible, including those seemingly too small and of little significance, plan on how to tackle the obstacle from multiple angles. And this is where we get to the interesting part. This is the fun part.
Change the environment
There is nothing as good and fun as playing a game according to your rules. You are sure to win.
To change the environment means you are changing the game plan to flow in a manner that favors you.
For example, you may be dealing with a business competitor who has more financial muscle than you. If your strengths are timely delivery and great customer service, use those two to tackle the competition. You can go about them like this:
Approach clients from a perspective of building a relationship. Make the client see you as a friend. He should be able to trust you as this is the foundation on which big brands are built. That is why a brand can sell expensive products but people still buy; make mistakes but people are still buying.
Great customer service is centered on making the customer trust you. Make customers trust that you have their concerns close to your heart. Then let them know that this is the basis on which you have developed your products or services.
After this, promise timely delivery and make sure you don’t fail on that.
Feel free to attack the obstacle from another angle at the same time. That can be cheaper prices. As long as you don’t go below your margins, you can lower prices.
Lower prices can also be a great strategy in business. If you have lower profits from selling one product but end up selling many pieces, then cumulatively, your profits rise.
This strategy of changing the environment is not limited to business operations only. It also works at a personal level. As long as you have your list of strengths and have understood the obstacle ahead of you, you are good to go.
For example, you may be trying to get into a relationship but your obstacle is shyness.
What are your strengths? Have you been told you have a great voice? Have you been complimented on your height or beauty? Are you good in certain games?
If you can sing, then start by joining a karaoke club. If you play sports, join a sports club. When you are in an environment where you flourish easily, your confidence gets built up and you are able to outdo obstacles.
Keep everything flowing within the boundaries of your strengths. You will soon realize that the obstacles which stood ahead of you actually helped you. You ended up knowing that you have more that you initially thought you had.
Remember the need for discipline? It will not be very helpful for you to change the environment but not sustain it. Diligence is necessary for this.
This is where many people tend to start failing because this stage is not as much fun as the previous one. There is little adrenaline running unless you make it your goal to always venture out to conquer more ground.
Before you do that however, it is critical that you become completely in control of the obstacle you faced. If it is one that could be moved as a result of your changing the environment, then you can proceed. If it is one that needs to be managed at all times, then you have to plan accordingly.
Diligence speaks of consistency. Consistency in doing what you are doing in the way you are doing it. If it is working, then stick to it. In the course of time, analyze any changes in both the internal and external environments to see whether you need to change tack.
Also, as you develop and become better, consider improving your operations to become more efficient. For example, as much as you have strengths working for you, you may need to implement automated solutions in some areas.
Strengths can also be improved. You can enroll for classes. You can research and learn online to see how other people are doing things. You will always need to be more knowledgeable so as to stay ahead of your obstacles.
This ensures that obstacles coming your way will never surprise you. You will also be equipped enough to know that you can handle them thus avoid unnecessary stress.
All in all, ensure that you always operate as per the strengths you have. This is what will keep you from sliding back to the challenging phase you were in.
After reading these tips, go ahead and implement them. Then you will realize that obstacles are nothing but stepping stones on your way to success.