Four ways of approaching obstacles


There are four ways of looking at obstacles.

  • One is to see them simply as obstacles: something getting in the way of you doing your work, an annoyance to be removed.
  • Another is to see them as part of your job: obstacles will always arise, and your role is precisely to overcome or get past them. The obstacles aren’t a barrier to the job — they are the job.
  • A third interpretation is to see them as learning opportunities. Ten years ago the obstacles you face today wouldn’t have come up for you, because you didn’t have anywhere near the skills or capabilities needed to address them. What seemed like a challenge for you ten years ago is easy for you now, just as the challenges you face today will seem easy in ten years’ time. Obstacles seen this way are not ‘obstacles’, they are simply an indication of where you have an opportunity to learn new skills.
  • And the fourth interpretation is to see the obstacles as a test. A test of whether you care enough to overcome the obstacles. Because if you find the obstacles are grinding you down, maybe it is because they are not really worth overcoming? Maybe it’s because you are heading in the wrong direction? And if you had a different role the obstacles there wouldn’t be obstacles any more, because they would worth addressing and you would be pursuing a goal worth fighting for.

The way you choose to think about the obstacles you face will determine the energy and enthusiasm you bring to meet them.

But the obstacles in turn will help to show you whether you are on the right path.

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