Sooner or later we will all face adversity that leads to extreme stress, disappointment, and a lot of uncertainty. When we rely on adversity, we will face tremendous obstacles. When faced with these obstacles, we must keep moving forward.
When life gets really hard, many people get stuck or lose momentum. They suffer from fear, self-doubt and other negative emotions.
To overcome obstacles, you must be fully aware of the problem and have a strong motivating reason to move on. You also have to change your unrealistic expectations. Then you need to develop a positive mindset, see the problem as an opportunity to disguise and take action.
Master 6 powerful ways to keep pushing the obstacles ahead to help you reach your goals.
1. Do not avoid obstacles
“Anyone can give up. It’s the easiest thing in the world. But when everyone expects you to fall, holding it together is the real strength.” —Chris Bradford
The first thing to do is not avoid the obstacles ahead. Don’t tuck your head in the sand and hope it gets better. Avoiding problems usually makes them worse. The small problem is because later it gets bigger and becomes unmanageable.
Many avoid the difficult obstacles by denying that it is a big problem or deliberately disregarding its importance. They usually do this because they don’t believe they can solve the problem or they realize how much effort it will take to overcome it.
Others avoid problems by distracting them. They do other things that separate their minds from the painful situation ahead.
How many times have you faced obstacles and procrastinated without facing them? Procrastination is another very common reaction to a problem we don’t want to face.
Here are some solutions to avoid the problem:
- Admit that there is a problem. Admit you are there. It can be painful, especially if it’s an emotional problem, but you have to realize that something is wrong and needs attention.
- Regardless of the cause, you acknowledge that you are responsible for resolving this issue. Don’t waste a lot of time blaming others or thinking about how unfair it is. Realize you have to deal with this problem now.
- Do not turn your attention to anything that distracts you from the problem.
- If you feel yourself procrastinating, remember that the longer it takes to face the problem, the worse it will get.
2. Know why you do it
Many cannot keep pushing the obstacles of the past because they don’t have a strong reason to continue. It is important to know the “why”. Your “why” should be the driving force that motivates you to keep pushing, overcoming obstacles, and reaching your goals.
Check the “why”. Why do you have to work extremely hard to overcome these obstacles to achieve your goals? Why is this goal important?
When I got out of jail, I was discriminated against. Many jobs have been denied because of convictions related to felony drug manufacturing. This was undoubtedly one of the biggest obstacles. I am very angry. I was mad at myself that I was arrested and went to jail. I was mad at the business world that discriminated against me when trying to do the right thing.
There were times when I wanted to give up. I thought I would become a drug dealer again. Then I thought about why employment is so important. I had several “reasons”. I have found that I can use my skills and talents to do good things in life. I didn’t want to go back to jail. I had to create a stable work history. If I did the right thing, I knew my best days were ahead of me.
I stayed on the course when I realized I had a strong reason to keep going. After the interview, I went to the interview until I heard my story and found someone to give me a chance. It took a long time, but in the end it worked. I was able to find friendly and compassionate people who were willing to hire me.
Why are your goals important to you?
Make sure you have a strong reason to stay on course to keep moving forward when faced with obstacles. Make sure your goals match your values. The big goal should be what you love-something worth fighting for.
3. Let go of your past expectations
There will be many times in life when you expect good results, run into obstacles, and then make new plans.
My mom died when I was in jail. I was devastated because I couldn’t see her, but it was a bit of comfort that my wife was there for me. When I was released I lived with her and started a new chapter in my life.
Later my wife left me. Now there was nowhere to go. I have reached the lowest point in my life.
A few months later, I contacted a couple I know and talked about my dilemma. They gladly agreed to let me live with them when I get out of prison. I have been with them for almost 9 months. That experience has strengthened our friendship and to this day they are within me. They are family.
They helped rebuild my life. They were at my college graduation and they helped me celebrate another milestone in my journey towards redemption. We continue to help and support each other. I was able to let go of my past expectations and do my best in a miserable situation.
Realize that life is often unfair. Be aware that things can change and often change. Accept that many things are out of your control. Let go of past expectations and actively work to make the most of bad situations.
Correct your expectations as needed. When things change, switch to a new plan that can cope with unexpected changes in the best possible way. Keep moving forward.
Follow John Wooden’s wise words.
Things work best for people who do their best in the way things work.
4. Have a positive mindset
Have you ever tried to solve a problem with a negative attitude? It was probably a tough fight. You may have had a hard time thinking of a solution to your problem or believed you couldn’t.
Having a positive mindset is one of the most important tools you can use to overcome life’s obstacles. A positive attitude increases your confidence in your ability to overcome big challenges. It opens your mind to new possibilities and ways to deal with problems.
“A positive mind finds opportunities in everything. A negative mind finds flaws in everything.” -unknown
Negative thoughts are stressful, overwhelming, and frightening to take action. On the other hand, positive thinking lowers your stress level. It makes you more comfortable and ready to cope with problems.
It is important to be “reasonably positive”. That said, you can do everything perfectly and you shouldn’t tell yourself that everything will work perfectly. Instead, recognize that you have the courage to face difficult obstacles, the ability to adapt to unexpected events, and the patience to keep standing up every time you fall until you reach your goal.
As Robert Luongo said:
“It doesn’t matter how many times you fall. The important thing is how many times does it happen.”
5. Seeing obstacles as opportunities
“The bigger the obstacle, the greater the glory to overcome.” —Molière
At first I thought the prison was a big obstacle. I thought it would ruin my life. I thought I wouldn’t be able to find a good job later because of the criminal record. I believed people would hate me when they knew I was in jail and I thought I had no future.
But when I started seeing prison as an opportunity to become a better, stronger, and smarter person, my life started to change quickly. I realized that prison is the reality check I need. If I had not been to jail, I would have died like my old friends.
The prison gave me the first opportunity to think about the purpose of my life. It gave me time to think about how to change myself and my life. It has started a positive trajectory to keep moving forward.
When faced with obstacles, ask the following questions to decide how to make you a better, stronger, and smarter person.
- What is the lesson life is trying to teach me now?
- How can you use this bad situation to do great things?
If you accept that there is a problem and have to fix it, you need to act. It sounds simple, but many people can’t get started because they don’t have an appropriate action plan.
To create an execution plan:
- List all options and their cost and benefits. Find the best option and remove other options.
- Decide how long it will take and when to complete it.
- List the actions you need to take from the first step to the last step.
- Make sure you have adequate resources to complete your action plan (time, people, money, skills, etc.).
- Start executing the plan.
Once you take action, don’t stop. Keep the momentum going. Keep moving forward until you reach your goal.
We must develop a positive mindset and see obstacles as opportunities, not obstacles. When we see challenges from this perspective, we learn, grow, and develop new skills and insights. We are better able to cope with the challenges we face in the future, and we become smarter and stronger.
When things get tough, it can be an automatic response that avoids or minimizes the obstacles in front of us. We need to be fully aware of the problem and know what can be overcome. And we must know that all our efforts and sacrifices are for a worthy cause.
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Featured photo credits: Jonathan Chng via unsplash.com