If anyone could achieve their goals without any difficulty, it is highly likely that most of us wouldn’t have a reason to get out of bed in the morning. As annoying and unpleasant as they may be, obstacles play a key role in keeping us motivated on our journey towards success by teaching us valuable lessons and helping us grow. Over the years, I have developed a variety of strategies to deal with challenging situations; some of them are the result of personal experience, while some others derive from either direct or indirect observation. Whenever I encounter an obstacle, there are three particular things that I always do to get back on the track.
First of all, I try to define the obstacle that I am facing by answering a number of questions, such as “what is the nature of the obstacle?”, “what are its causes?”, “who is involved in the situation?” and “how it is going to affect my plans?”. The duration of this process depends entirely on the nature and complexity of the obstacle. Minor obstacles can be defined and analyzed in a relatively short time, whereas major ones require more reflection and brain power. This step is extremely important as it allows me to dissect obstacles into smaller, manageable ones.
Second of all, I force myself to think of the obstacle as an opportunity to think out of the box and learn something new. When we set a goal and make a plan to achieve it, we try to predict the future to the best of our ability. We analyze our own strengths and weaknesses; we set deadlines and expectations; we ask ourselves what variables might affect our path to success and what resources we are going to need to ensure that everything goes according to plan. However, the world is full of “surprises” that no human can predict, no matter how intelligent or resourceful. By reminding ourselves that behind every obstacle, there is a lesson waiting to be learned, or a skill waiting to be acquired, we will always find a way to push past our impediments. As an individual who used to find it extremely difficult to keep a positive attitude when things went wrong, I have had to work very hard to develop a growth mindset that would allow me to stay focused on my goals. Thanks to this new approach, I now find it relatively easy to think creatively whenever an unexpected obstacle emerges.
Finally, I try to look at the situation I am in from different angles by discussing it with the people I trust – usually my family and best friends. Approaching a challenging situation with an open mind and a perfectly objective attitude can be very difficult when a strategy has already been developed. Having already spent a considerable amount of time thinking about the obstacle we are facing, our preconceived ideas may prevent us from seeing the obstacle from different perspectives. This is where human interaction comes into play. Whenever I face an obstacle, I try to identify at least one person who might help me gain clarity about the situation and share my thoughts with them.
In conclusion, obstacles can be an excellent source of motivation as well as an opportunity to explore new solutions to apparently insurmountable problems. By approaching adverse situations with a positive attitude and adequate strategies, we can easily turn any challenge to our advantage. When handled correctly and effectively, obstacles can help us become wiser, smarter, more creative and more resilient by equipping us with a wide range of transferable skills that may be used in a variety of contexts.