I am becoming ever more convinced that our real ‘obstacles’ are not the obstacles themselves as we perceive them to be but our inner inertia to overcome them. I’m sure many of you will agree with me on this point.
It then becomes more clear that the best way to tackle a problem is not only to change something ‘outside’ ourselves but more importantly to change something within ourselves first. Many times I have observed that the hardest part becomes making that first move because often we are emotionally immobilized by fear or uncertainty.
What is needed is a small shift in perspective accompanied by the inner resolution, and hence courage, to overcome the obstacle. Here are a few points I find most effective to achieve this end:
1.Massage your soul and uplift your spirit: Obstacles are hard to overcome when your spirit is weary and low. If you lift your spirit even just a teeny weeny bit, you will immediately start to perceive the obstacle immensely smaller. How about listening to some uplifting music, watch a motivating video on Youtube, read an inspiring biography or an interesting blog (Tim Ferris’s blog always kick-starts motivation in me)? How about an hour of your favorite comedy show or play silly fun with your children or other people’s children for that matter?
2.Open your heart and consult it freely!: if your heart is closed, weary or full of fears you can’t even start. Your heart is the key to your success – nourish it. Often we feel that to tackle an obstacle we just need to squeeze our brain and come up with the right plan. Not really. Your heart must come first. How? Listen to it…that visceral feeling in your gut, that tightening of your chest and that voice in your head we often ignore. listen more to your feelings first.
3.Clear your mind: When dealing with problems, it’s better to have a clear & empty mind then one full of worries, possible scenarios, logical arguments and what have you. A clear and empty mind will leave space to ideas, solutions and little sparks of genius. How? A few minutes of relaxation in a quiet room, following some relaxation techniques like these, listening to some brain wave entrainment tracks like these, or some quick meditation techniques like these.
4.Positive self-talk: How do you talk to yourself? Seriously. Are you self-critical, negative and judgmental? Do you use harsh and negative tones or words in your mental commentary? Observe it. If you do, then watch out for it. Start talking less judgmentally and using more positive and uplifting metaphors. The effect of this is basically, positive auto-suggestion. It can give you the strength to endure and pursue anything if used effectively.
5.Visualization: This is another powerful tool to use with positive self-talk. In reality, both positive self-talk and visualization are auto-suggestive or let’s say, self-hypnosis tools. It is giving instructions to your subconscious how to act. If you have read or seen what hypnotic suggestion can achieve you also know that these can be very powerful tools. I recommend this visualization technique and this book here.
6.Let go of the fear of failure: Fear creates obstacles by itself so it definitely doesn’t help us in dealing with obstacles. Fear of failure is understandably a very common fear especially due to increasing pressures in our work and social life. You have to rationalize the fear. Ask “Is this fear justified?”, “what’s the worst that could happen?”, “Isn’t it better to act and possibly fail rather than not act and fail for certain?”
7.Feel free to make mistakes it’s OK: In line with the point above, be sure to remind yourself that it is perfectly OK to make mistakes. Biggest achievements have the longest lists of mistakes and failures…but they are achievements nonetheless.
8.Keep on trying: Perseverance is a virtue but most of all it is an important ingredient for success. If you give up after trying and failing once or twice, then your chances of overcoming any obstacles are not large. There is no counter telling you how many times you need to try but just keep on trying and I’m pretty confident that you will overcome the obstacle before contemplating the question.
9.You are not alone: Who said you need to overcome the obstacles alone? It’s much easier with a helping hand. You can always turn to a friend or relative and ask for help or guidance. If that is not possible, today we are blessed with the abundance of social connections made possible by the web. If you have a particular problem, it’s easy to search it up and in no time you’ll land in a discussion forum, blog or site where you’ll be amazed how many people share the same problem and are willing to help through their own experience.
10.Problems are only fragments in time: Remind yourself that problems are only temporary. It is us who make them more more permanent. You need to think outside of the moment. sometimes our emotional response to a problem makes it seem bigger because we wrongly perceive that the problem is indefinite. It is not so don’t treat it as such or you’ll be succumbing to it.