32 Of The Best Strategies for Overcoming Obstacles In Life
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Everyone would be able to achieve success if there were no obstacles standing in their way.
But the reality is that there is always some type of barrier standing between you and the things you want in life.
These barriers may be very simple to step over, but many are more complex and test your willingness to persist. This is certainly not always easy, but there is always a way.
Obstacles can manifest themselves in three ways.
- External obstacles are those that are outside of your control like the economy, natural disasters, any physical limitations that you may have, and the current state of the government.
- Internal obstacles are usually one-time issues that you have control over, like debt, time management, skills, or talent.
- Habitual obstacles reflect how you might get in your own way of success. These obstacles can only be removed with a change in behavior.
Let's go over some effective strategies for overcoming obstacles in your life that will help you persevere through life's hurdles.
Overcoming Obstacles Exercises
Alter Your Perception
Some people consider obstacles to be threatening and a reason to turn around.
Others view obstacles as being an opportunity to grow or learn something new. Your perception of barriers to your goals has a direct impact on how you react to them.
If you perceive obstacles as being a way for the world to be against you or show you that you have failed, you will be overwhelmed with difficult emotions when you're faced with roadblocks to your goals.
However, if you are able to look at the obstacle as being a puzzle to solve or an opportunity to learn something, you can change your attitude to being a positive one and face the obstacle head-on.
Take a Step Back
A common tool used in dialectical behavior therapy is the acronym STOP. This stands for: stop, take a step back, observe, proceed mindfully.
Step back and take a look at your emotions. Allow yourself to calm down. Then look at the obstacle as if someone else were facing it. What advice would you give them?
Wait for Your Rational Mind
When you are faced with an obstacle, don't immediately act with your emotional mind because it will urge you to give up, act impulsively, or get angry when you're faced with obstacles to your goal.
Wait a while until your rational mind can take charge again. Your rational mind can absorb new information, be open to considering alternative solutions, and be creative in thinking of new ways to solve a problem.
Ask for Help
Asking for help or other people's ideas is an interpersonal skill that will help you succeed in life.
Other people may be aware of resources that you don't know about, and they may have ideas that you haven't considered. They also see the world differently than you do and could pick up on solutions that you don't.
Now that you have a general understanding of what you need to do to overcome obstacles, let's look at some more specific methods.
32 Of The Best Strategies for Overcoming Obstacles In Life
1. Focus on the Things You Can Change To Overcome Obstacles
There are a lot of obstacles that you have no power over to change. Maybe you don't like your boss's demeaning personality and that is keeping you from being successful at work.
If you can't change your perspective, then you should consider looking for a new job. Otherwise, you are wasting time sitting around waiting for someone else to change.
2. Overcoming Obstacles By Not Overthinking Things
The time you spend merely thinking about the obstacles that you face is time wasted.
You don't need to try to think your way out of your predicament or try to convince other people how unfair it is.
Don't waste your time overthinking all of the worst possible scenarios. Instead, take the necessary action to make a change.
3. Overcome Obstacles By Learning From Your Mistakes
Consider how you played a role in the obstacle and what you could do next time to avoid it.
Making a mistake may offer you the opportunity to reflect on where you went wrong and how you can change your direction.
4.Overcome Obstacles By Being Persistent
Even if you feel like you are stuck or barely moving, keep going. The only people who ever reach their goals are those who don't give up.
Even when you don't have the motivation, take one small step in the direction of your goal. The first step can get the ball rolling.
5. Overcoming Obstacles By Doing Your Best
If you keep running into obstacles, it may be tempting to either give up or stop putting forth as much effort as you're capable of. You may even start to view challenges as signs that you should stop.
However, the better option is to see how you can change your strategy to improve your results. The initial results of your efforts may not be what you expected, but continue to do your best so you know you have given it your all.
6. Practice Self-Awareness To Overcome Obstacles
If you blame everyone (or everything) else for the obstacles that you face, you will never reach your goals.
For example, you could always blame time for being your enemy, however, what if your ability to prioritize is the issue, and you aren't making the best use of your time?
Question any assumptions you have about the challenges holding you back and try to recognize your blind spots. This awareness can open you to new ideas and insights to help you overcome your obstacles.
7. Manage Your Impatience To Overcome Obstacles
The larger the obstacle, the more time it will take to get through.
Set a schedule to overcome the obstacle with clear milestones so you can keep track of your progress.
This will also help you see the large impact of small changes. Once you see small progress, you will be motivated to put in more effort.
8. Overcoming Obstacles By Being Focused
Distractions are all around. True discipline is about being able to commit time and effort to overcome your obstacles regardless of external factors.
Clear out every distraction and don't put anything else on your plate until you make progress. Make your obstacle your first priority and focus on it until it's dealt with.
9. Overcoming Obstacles By Being Open-Minded
The way you have done things in the past might not always be the best way. There are often a lot of different solutions to one problem.
Take some time to thoroughly understand what the problem at hand before jumping to a conclusion. Be open to all possibilities.
Ask other people whose judgment and insight you trust for feedback. Write down all possible options for dealing with the obstacle, and examine each one to look at the pros and cons.
10. Find the Root Cause To Overcome Obstacles
Sometimes the problem that you think you are facing isn’t the real problem at all. Perhaps it's a symptom of a bigger issue.
Look at the problem from a distance to see if you have focused on only a small portion of something bigger that requires a completely different approach.
You can only determine your best course of action once you understand the entire problem in its correct context.
11. Overcome Obstacles By Breakin It Down
A useful technique for overcoming complex obstacles is breaking them down and working on smaller parts of it until each piece becomes manageable and can be solved individually.
When a big problem is broken down, you will be able to pick up on patterns and techniques to apply. You won't feel so overwhelmed that you give up before you begin.
12. Question Your Assumptions To Overcoming Obstacles
Be mindful of the assumptions you have made and don't jump to conclusions too fast.
Everyone makes assumptions to try and rush their progress, but it's important to stop and make sure your assumptions make sense.
After all, you don't want to develop or depend on a solution that is made upon an incorrect idea.
Overcoming Obstacles at School
13. Effectively Manage Your Time To Overcome Obstacles
Managing your time well will help you overcome obstacles in school. Do not let any one thing take up all of your time, and don't lose sight of your long-term goals.
When you are presented with two or more options of ways to spend your time, make sure that you have set a schedule and stick to it so you don't cram in finishing your school work without enough time.
14. Maintain a Positive Attitude To Overcome Obstacles
You can't forget that obstacles will pass and everything will get better.
Being optimistic will allow you to look forward to the future, despite the hurdles you face. Remember that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
15. Seek Appropriate Guidance To Overcome Obstacles
Sometimes the answers you need will come from outside sources. There are many people out there who have already successfully overcome the circumstances you're facing.
Seek out these mentors or experts to help you find the answers you're looking for.
16. Overcoming Obstacle By Being Confident
You will have an especially hard time facing your problems if you don’t believe that you can overcome them in the first place.
Your self-doubt will turn into a critical voice and paralyze you, keeping you focused on problems rather than solutions.
You have to develop the necessary self-confidence to help you work through your problems in better ways.
17. Overcome Obstacles With A Progressive Mindset
Doing this will help you proactively deal with the obstacle at hand.
Having a progressive mindset means that you are willing to ask practical questions and are always looking for new opportunities.
It helps you remain flexible and open to continuous learning while in pursuit of your goals.
18. Overcome Obstacles With A List Of Possible Options
Solutions will only be found when you explore all possibilities and scenarios. To do this, ask yourself:
- How can I get past this obstacle?
- What options haven’t I considered?
- What could I be missing that I haven't examined?
- Who could help me with this challenge?
The more options you can come up with, the more opportunities you have to find a suitable solution.
19. Overcoming Obstacles With Experimentation
Don't be afraid to experiment and try new things that might help you overcome an obstacle. Remember, it is ok if you try something and it doesn't work out.
20. Don't Seek Sympathy To Overcome Obstacles
When you look for sympathy, you are coming from a point of weakness and showing other people that you can't control your fate.
Instead, come from a place of empowerment and take full responsibility for your circumstances.
21. Reward Yourself Along the Way
Reward yourself for making progress. This way, you will not feel burned out in studying or tackling any school-related challenges.
This reward can also help you relax after the stress you’ve encountered. Just be sure the reward adds to your self-care rather than making you feel physically or mentally drained.
22. Prepare in Advance To Overcome Obstacles
Preparation is the key to success in any endeavor. Organize your schedule and create a to-do list to help you prepare for any issues that may come your way.
Try to think ahead about possible obstacles you may encounter related to a school assignment or test preparation. Give yourself plenty of time to deal with unexpected disruptions.
This will also reduce your stress when you have a lot on your plate.
Overcoming Obstacles at Work
23. Overcoming Obstacles By Accepting Your Mistakes
Sometimes, to find the best way to overcome an obstacle, you have to go through a lot of bad solutions first.
The most important thing is to remember that it is ok to make mistakes. Don’t get frustrated. Instead, use your mistakes as stepping stones to get to your desired solution.
24. Analyze Interpersonal Issues To Overcome Obstacles
Some of the most challenging obstacles are those that involve other people. Emotions can alter your judgment and make the problem seem worse than it is.
Related: 20 Ways To Overcome Life Challenges
Sometimes it takes more than one person to contribute to a problem. Listen to other people and consider their perspective.
Solve what the other person perceives to be the problem first. You never know — it may solve your own problem.
25. Get Creative To Overcome Obstacles
When you are faced with an obstacle at work, take a minute to think of alternate paths to reaching your goals.
Can you reach your goal while completely avoiding the obstacle? While shortcuts don't present themselves very often, it's worth taking the time to brainstorm.
Asking for opinions can help you think outside the box and find unique solutions that you might not have considered.
26. Overcoming Obstacles By Visualizing Your Goal
If you start to feel discouraged, close your eyes and visualize yourself overcoming the obstacle and reaching your goal.
Visualization is a powerful tool that can reinforce your positive mindset and motivate you to take action.
Frequently remind yourself why you're working so hard and making the sacrifices that you are. It will all be worth it in the end.
27. Overcoming Obstacles By Remembering Your Purpose
When you are facing obstacles, your “why”– or your purpose –becomes your safe haven.
Examine the greater purpose of your goal and the reasons it's so important to you. Let this purpose motivate you to tackle any challenges or setbacks.
If you don't have a bigger life purpose connected to task or situation you are dealing with, then define a purpose that is connected to your personal and professional values.
Integrity, professionalism, and dedication to excellence are all important work values that can motivate you.
28. Obtain the Necessary Resources To Overcome Obstacles
At times, you may not have the necessary resources to help you deal with the obstacle you're facing.
In these instances, you have to question what you're missing and then find the necessary tools, strategies, wisdom, and support that you need to help you overcome your hurdle.
29. Make Necessary Sacrifices To Overcome Obstacles
You may find it hard to overcome certain obstacles because you're unwilling to make the required changes to help you successfully overcome the problem.
Achieving any goal takes sacrifice. People struggle with this because they get caught up in the trap of instant gratification. If you can avoid this trap, you will find it easier to overcome the obstacles that you face.
30. Keep Things Simple To Overcome Obstacles
When handling problems, simplicity is important.
The more you complicate things, the more overwhelmed you will become.
Therefore, you have to keep things simple and straightforward. The toughest obstacles are often solved in the simplest ways.
31. Overcoming Obstacles By Taking Decisive Action
One of the worst obstacles is remaining stuck. You must be decisive and take action in order to recover from setbacks. You have to have the courage to make tough decisions.
If you waffle or flip-flop, you will be stuck in self-doubt and dread. Even if you make the wrong decision, you have taken action and correct your course if necessary.
32. Look at the Bigger Picture To Overcome Obstacles
Consider how overcoming obstacles can be a chance to make an impact on people or issues that are much larger than yourself.
Who benefits from the work you do in the end? How much is this obstacle hurting them?
This will help you feel less alone as you realize that the obstacle you are facing is likely small compared to what others have been able to overcome.
Examples of Overcoming Obstacles
Many very successful people started out facing extreme obstacles before reaching their goal. Here are some examples of people who you likely recognize.
Before being named the world's most influential woman, Oprah was born into poverty to a teenage single mother and raised in an inner-city neighborhood.
She endured significant hardships during her childhood, including become pregnant at 14 and then losing her son in infancy.
Tom Cruise, who now has twenty films that have grossed over $200 million worldwide, grew up in poverty with an abusive father.
Leader of the abolitionist movement, Douglass was born into slavery, violence, and separation from his family. He had to teach himself to read, along with other of life's necessities.
Once named the highest paid actor, Depp came from a family who constantly moved and lived in hotels while looking for work.
Depp started smoking and doing drugs as a young teen and dropped out of high school when he was sixteen.
Nobel prize-winning physicist, Albert Einstein, couldn't land a job in physics for two years after he graduated.
He worked as an assistant patent examiner and was passed over for a promotion until he was able to “master machine technology.”
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If achieving goals was easy, more people would be reaching their goals. However, obstacles cause many people to quit.
If you can welcome obstacles and use the strategies laid out above, you will have a better chance of overcoming them and achieving your most important life goals.
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