Most of us have faced or continue to face life challenges. How can we not, COVID-19 and other factors have touched every single one of us in some way or another. It’s hard to remember that it’s normal to have obstacles crop up from time to time. Everyone has setbacks, disappointments, and tough times. But going through a rough patch doesn’t have to spoil your life. The key to thriving in the face of adversity is how you respond to the obstacles in your path.
Either your thoughts or your emotions or both can lead you to stop working on your goals. You lose your passion. Perhaps you become resigned and no longer think about your goals or what’s important to you. Your reactions to obstacles stopped you from trying.
Think about the last obstacle you faced. What thoughts did you have? What emotions did you have?
Were your reactions to the last obstacle you faced accurate? Were they helpful? What is your pattern of responding to obstacles?
Discouragement, anger, sadness are all emotions that you might experience when faced with an obstacle. These emotions could dissuade you from attempting to overcome the obstacle.
Maybe you blame yourself or others that your path to your goal is blocked. Those thoughts could persuade you to stop pursuing your goal.
Sometimes obstacles can be overcome, and sometimes they can’t. Sometimes you have to work around them or find alternatives. The key is to not give up without wise consideration because you hit an obstacle, or because of your emotional reaction to the obstacle.
Here are five strategies to help you ride through and come out on top.
Decide to embrace the obstacle
If you’re having a tough time, it can be easy to feel helpless, even that you’re a victim. But it’s up to you to rise to the challenge and decide that you won’t be overwhelmed. Choosing to take control and embrace your challenge is the first step in overcoming it. Look your obstacle square in the face and resolve to meet it. Expect obstacles and accept them as part of achieving the goal. Of course, you don’t want that. No one does. And most often the truth is there will be obstacles.
Be okay with discomfort
The proof that you’re embracing your obstacle is acknowledging that it doesn’t feel good. It can feel uncomfortable, heavy, even painful. There are lots of life experiences that hurt at the time but end up being for your best and highest good. From marathon training to going to the dentist to public speaking, even facing your debtors, you feel so much better once you’ve faced the worst. Remember it won’t last forever. Don’t shrink from the bad feelings. You can ride them out!
Let your Brain’s Frontal Cortex take charge
Make decisions about obstacles with your wise mind: Your emotional mind will urge you to quit, act impulsively, rage, or give up when faced with obstacles to your goal. Wait for your wise mind to be in charge. Your wise mind can take in new information, be flexible in considering alternatives, and be creative in thinking of solutions.
Make sure you have a support team
You don’t have to face your obstacles alone. It can make all the difference to have people around you who are supportive, who’ll stick by you and cheer you on when you want to give up.
If you have a cheer squad, you’ll find that extra level of energy to help get you through. And you’ll be there for your friends and colleagues when they’re facing their challenges. Once you’re part of a team who have each other’s backs, none of you will have to face life’s ups and downs alone. You’ll fight together and celebrate success together.
Be grateful for your obstacles
Feeling gratitude for the challenges in life might sound counter-intuitive. But think about it. Accepting the challenge, resolving to meet it head-on, and overcoming it makes you a better, stronger person. Think of how good it feels to deal with a problem and solve it. To face fear and overcome it.
Without obstacles in your life, you would not grow and learn and become a better person. Obstacles are a natural, normal part of living an authentic life.