“The impediment to action advances the action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” — Marcus Aurelius
Think of any worthwhile endeavor and you are bound to encounter obstacles along the way.
These obstacles are challenges and impediments along the road that halt or put brakes on your progress.
Overcoming obstacles requires an individual to have resilience, the ability to see problems as opportunities for growth, and the mindset that thrives on adversity.
Obstacles present themselves as opportunities for growth. According to the saying, “wherever your fear is, that’s where your growth lies.”
If you want to live the life of your dreams then you need to chase your fears, challenges, and obstacles, and overcome them.
This is a guide covering ways to overcome obstacles.
We’ll be covering the following topics:
What Does Overcoming Obstacles Mean?
Some obstacles are born with us, while others we encounter throughout life.
A person born with a disability has to overcome the obstacle caused by that disability throughout his/her life.
Some people are born into less privileged circumstances, making their climb out of the social pit towards financial and social freedom that much harder.
Other people encounter problems in executing their best laid out plans. Due to unforeseen events, their business goes under.
Life can throw a curveball at you when you least expect it, and it is entirely up to you to choose your response.
Thus, overcoming obstacles entails choosing the right response. The right response, however, sounds easier than it really is.
It takes resilience, fortitude, and willpower to overcome obstacles.
Obstacles will test your mettle and you will find out what you are made of along the way.
Why is it Important to Overcome Obstacles in Life?
It is important to discard our entitlements — whatever they may be that we hold on to — to live a more realistic life.
Obstacles are a must through the journey of life. We must acknowledge them, and instead, we should foster an attitude that views them as opportunities to grow.
Overcoming obstacles in life increases our resilience and fortitude. These are valuable life skills that are absolutely essential to living a healthy life.
If you want to reach your goals — achievable, but admirable goals — then you will have to learn to overcome obstacles.
No matter the nature of the obstacle, you need to understand that anything worth achieving is bound to come with a few thorns.
For example, if you want to be an entrepreneur, you will encounter several obstacles along the way from planning, to funding, to launching, that will attempt to discourage you at each and every turn.
Added to all these, there will be people telling you that your plans are fantastical imaginations or they aren’t practical enough.
But in order to prove them wrong, you will overcome a mountain of obstacles along the way.
How Do You Overcome Obstacles?
Life is a sum of series of obstacles and challenges. There is no getting around encountering obstacles in life.
What can we do then to overcome these obstacles that are all around us?
To overcome obstacles, you need to have the right mindset: the mindset of a resilient person.
A resilient person looks at obstacles as opportunities for growth and stands in the face of fear and advances voluntarily towards his/her goals.
Once you are equipped with this kind of mindset, you are all set to encounter any challenge and overcome any obstacle.
It is better to have these mindsets that can be applied to any situation that may arise instead of having cookie-cutter solutions because life is unpredictable and there are a billion ways things can go wrong.
If you are dependent on a specific set of solutions it limits your ability to overcome obstacles creatively.
It also helps to have a purpose that you can work towards. If you are emotionally invested in your goal or purpose, you are more likely to power through.
Imagine a mountaineer stuck on an expedition to climb Everest. With no supplies, food, and with finger-numbing icy cold blowing, you will soon find your will to live crushed.
But if anything that can keep you going and powering through, it is the thought of seeing your loved ones after you have overcome the obstacles of surviving the climb on Everest.
10 Ways to Overcome Obstacles
Here are 10 ways you can overcome your obstacles:
1. Have a Larger Purpose
What’s your goal? What gets you up in the morning?
If you are having problems overcoming a few obstacles down the road, you need to evaluate your life and identify a higher purpose than you are currently on.
Because, as Neitzsche succinctly observed, “He who has a WHY to live can bear almost any HOW.”
Preferably, have a purpose that not only motivates you intellectually but more importantly, should motivate you emotionally.
For example, setting out to make $10,000 in a single month is an ambitious goal, but if your motivation is only to get the money as soon as possible then you are going to encounter impossible-to-move obstacles.
But what if you think of your family, and the freedom that you would have by being financially free, and the joy it would bring you to take your family on vacations whenever you wanted then you would have an emotionally charged motive to reach there as fast as possible.
And consequently, the obstacles will feel like you are walking through a transparent gelly wall — like the ones in the sci-fi movies — that you can easily walk through to the other side.
If you struggle finding “purpose,” we recommend this TED Talk by Adam Leipzig:
2. Build Resilience
There’s no getting around the fact that life is full of obstacles. You are bound to encounter one at some point in your life, be it in business, work, study, or even your relationship.
The wise man thing to do here would be to equip yourself for the things that life is bound to throw at you.
Consider activities that increase your tolerance for pain and discomfort. This way, you will be building the most important life skill of resilience.
3. Discard the Entitlement Trap
Yes, we are all guilty of this one. Entitlement is a deeply unattractive trait in a person.
When you encounter entitled people, you just want to scream at them, “who do you think you are?”
Life does not owe you anything. You have to earn everything through sheer hard work and determination.
Entitled people don’t get the concept or hard work or that they have to face obstacles in life.
Instead of getting to work to overcome obstacles, entitled people will drag their feet, make excuses, and cry out to the heavens, “Why me?”.
You need to get rid of any entitlement that you have left in you.
Once, you are over the fact that you are not some special snowflake to whom life will not happen, you can move on with overcoming obstacles like James Bond.
4. Build Self-Confidence
Speaking of suave and confident men like James Bond, you need to address your insecurities if you want to change your life by overcoming obstacles that are holding you back.
Research looking into the differentiating factor between successful and unsuccessful athletes highlighted that self-confidence was the primary predictor of success.
If a person is self-confident in their ability to overcome obstacles then he/she is more likely to act, take risks, and generally be more proactive about demolishing obstacles and challenges.
5. Problems Versus Opportunities
Think to yourself, what kind of a person are you when you are faced with an obstacle?
Do you look at problems as these huge and intimidating walls that you can never jump over? Or do you look at problems like doors that lead to progress and exciting adventures?
Your perception of an obstacle matters more than you think.
Your confidence in the face of adversity — and whether or not you will overcome the obstacle — is based on your ability to perceive problems in a positive light, i.e. as opportunities for growth.
6. Divide Your Task Into Smaller Chunks
If you are faced with a huge obstacle that requires you to work for months on end in grueling, monotonous hours, you will start feeling overwhelmed.
You will be defeated before the first shot has been fired because the amount of work from start to finish seems outrageously a lot.
But if you want to overcome an obstacle that takes that much time and effort, you will have to divide the task into bite-sized chunks.
Nibbling away at the task, each time lessening the load, eventually, you will have been done with it without losing your sanity in the process.
7. Don’t Be Shy in Asking for Help
Don’t think you can go about doing everything yourself in life. We are social animals, and we can’t live without the help of others.
If you are going through some obstacles in your life, consider enlisting help from your family, friends, colleagues, or anyone who you think can help you best with a specific problem.
You need not be too proud or shy to ask for help if you are unable to do everything by yourself.
8. Don’t Let Judgments Restrict You
Everyone judges everyone else. It’s a normal human thing to do.
But if what somebody said to you is limiting you in any way in realizing your potential, you need to stay away from such people and discard their judgment.
Such people are toxic who aren’t able to do the things that you aspire to and think that if they were to pass judgments you will also stay limited with them.
Outgrow such people and don’t let their judgments restrict you.
If you are thinking of becoming an entrepreneur people will come and tell you that, “you can’t do it!”, or that, “you aren’t cut out for it!” blah blah blah.
But it is up to you to not listen to them and prove them wrong.
Go ahead and follow your dreams and don’t obstacles or people restrict you from realizing them.
9. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
Your life is yours to live, and when you start comparing your life with the life of people on social media, or with your friends from school, or your colleagues, you are bound to be disappointed.
Of course, there will be people who are wealthier, more successful, have a bigger social circle, have more fun parties, or are seem like they are having the time of their life, but it doesn’t have to be a race.
Life is not a race or a competition; it is an adventure. It is a journey of self-actualization.
And a journey whose destination is so noble is bound to have obstacles along the way.
Buddha was confronted by demons that sought to distract or intimidate him once he was near enlightenment.
So keep your head down, focused on the goal, putting one step in front of the other, and soon you will have overcome your obstacles.
10. Get Some Distance
Often times we are so marred within our own drama that we don’t realize what’s right in front of us.
If you are facing an obstacle that seems insurmountable, and you are raking your brain, but no solution presents itself, you should consider taking a break.
Step away, take a breather, work on something else — preferably, a hobby — then come back with renewed and refreshed energy and mind.
Sometimes, the solution is as obvious as the day, but you are too close to get any perspective.
Taking some time off, or viewing the issue from a fresh perspective can add so much nuance that you will be surprised.
Objective thinking should be the cornerstone of your strategy to overcome obstacles, and that is possible by looking at problems with as many fresh lenses as possible.
No one gets out of life unscathed. It is a wonderful thing, but at the same time, it is an extremely practical teacher.
In order to make you strong, resilient, and a successful person, it will teach you by way of action.
It is going to throw obstacles in your path. Your job is to overcome those obstacles.
The 10 ways to overcome obstacles mentioned above are an excellent way to get a boost of motivation to power through your obstacles.
Sikandar is opinionated on a diverse set of topics that include, but are not limited to, Productivity, Health, Fitness, Motivation, and Career. He is in love with the written word and writes mainly to help others on their self-actualizing journeys. A journalist by education, getting to the bottom of things is his modus operandi. Often, he finds himself moonlighting as a life coach to his family, friends, and colleagues. He can be reached at his LinkedIn for collaboration.