Obstacles in Life – Your Toolkit for Overcoming Them

Obstacles in Life – Your Toolkit for Overcoming Them

The first six months of my first job were my worst nightmare. I’ll be telling Obstacles in Life and how to overcome them. Having been at the top of my class and gotten a prestigious job, I was confident in myself and was sure I would perform well. But assignment after assignment, I was letting my team down. There was either a communication gap with my senior or a part of the presentation that lacked research or articulation that needed work. For a consistently good performer, this was an unforeseen obstacle. 

If we lived in an ideal world, we would all have a happy life with no struggles. Unfortunately, we do not. Real-life translates into facing obstacles at different stages of life, overcoming them only to find more challenges at the next stage. However, we succumb to this circle because of the rewards of overcoming the obstacles. Whether it is a challenge at school or work or in relationships, we identify the problem, find a solution, and then implement it. The exhilaration that awaits us at the end of this cycle makes the entire process worth it. 

Obstacles in Life

From struggling to accept your body to life as a single mother, there is a hoard of obstacles waiting to make an appearance in our lives. The primary instinct of humans has been survival. Obstacles are the modern life predators, for which a dedicated toolkit is required. Here are some of the tools that can help you overcome obstacles you face:

  1. Identifying and Accepting the Obstacle

The first and most important step in overcoming any problem is accepting that there is a problem. Simple as it sounds, the millennial culture promotes living in denial. There are threads of memes and tweets on sleeping to avoid dealing with problems. Truth be told, I have been a victim of this norm, too. “Sleep on it,” my mother used to say. Taking some distance from what I was feeling helped me gain perspective, but I started running away from my issues before I knew it. Needless to say, avoiding them for an indefinite timeline does not help. It only makes the problem appear bigger than it is. That leads us to the first tool of the kit, which is, identifying and accepting your problem. 

If you are receiving criticism at work or your partner keeps pointing out that you flare up easily, tell yourself, “it’s okay, I am not perfect and may have to work on this.” Expecting perfection from everything you do is impractical and works against you in the long term. Keeping an open mind, identifying things about yourself that you can change, and improving your life will help in the long haul. This is what psychologists call “The Growth Mindset,” which sees failure as an opportunity to learn and grow.

  1. Talking About Your Problems

Dealing with problems all alone can be scary. Isolating yourself with all the things you are dealing with can be overwhelming. On the other hand, sharing with people close to you can help in feeling lighter and provide a new perspective. I love talking to my best friends about what’s going on in my mind. It gives me clarity, and they always make me feel like whatever I’m feeling is normal and okay and share tips on what can help, their experiences, and opinions. So, go ahead, talk to your mom, or best friend, or colleague! 

And if, for any reason, you would like to keep it to yourself, I would suggest writing it out. Tap the notes folder on your phone and type away. The jumbled and entwined thoughts will find an outlet, and you will be left with a clear head. This step will also help cement your belief in changing, implying that you are ready to move forward. Whatever you have identified is not just an abstract thought or observation in your head but something you’re willing to work on, something more concrete.

  1. Action Plan

On realising that I had to up my game at work, I turned to the one part of work that I did, in fact, do well – make a to-do list. I decided to: 

  • Seek constructive feedback from my senior; 
  • Look at my past projects and identify tasks that I could have performed better; 
  • Keep track of technical updates, and; 
  • Ask what I didn’t know; instead of assuming unsaid things or finishing up early by compromising quality, I decided to ask for clarification or more time when needed.

Breaking down the change into actionable steps provides a clear path forward. If changing your unhealthy lifestyle is your obstacle to fitting into that little black dress, a list of steps will get you in that dress. It can be as simple as “drink more water” or “carry an energy bar for mid-meals to avoid overeating.”

There are plenty of resources available to guide you on what these steps should be, from friends who have gone through similar experiences to influencers on social media to online courses. Guidance is easily available. The hard part is, seeking it. Acting on that floating thought in your head can be daunting, and to combat that, a clear step plan is what you need. 

  1. Implementing the Action Plan

This is, by far, the hardest part of the process. Day after day, implementing the small or big changes you’ve broken it down to. The key is to start small. Most people go from no workouts to straight 2 hours in the gym and in no time are back to facing the challenge they started with. Expecting yourself to stick to the plan without any drifts would be like expecting a newborn to walk without falling. Give yourself a transition period. Start small, and be sure to get back to the plan every time you stray. Maybe you’ll lash out again when you’re angry, but you’ll know what you did and apologize instead of pretending it doesn’t happen. You’ll count to 3 before reacting next time or hold back from saying what came to mind. Yes, it is time-consuming. Most good things are. But they are worth it. Be patient with yourself and keep at it. 

  1. Celebrate Small Victories

Before you bring a 180-degree change in your life, acknowledge the gradual tilts, the little positive changes that are visible. Maybe you haven’t lost the 50 pounds you set out to but have switched to having coffee without sugar or incorporated at least 30 mins of walking. Celebrate small victories, from a 3-times streak to a 5-times streak. You will begin to see bits of the ultimate change eventually, and before you know it, you will have to overcome the obstacle. Not only will the results keep you motivated, but they will also bring some fun to the process. In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about the problems of a goal-oriented mindset. He explains that this mindset defers your happiness when you achieve your goal and makes it difficult to continue your habits after achieving it. However big or small it may be, you are attempting to change your mindset and lifestyle in overcoming your obstacle. However small the ripples of this wave of change may be, each one of them deserves your acknowledgment.

  1. Avoid Comparing Yourself to Others

We have all been there; the minute we look at something about ourselves or our circumstances, we compare ourselves to others who have it better. All this does is make us feel worse than we did before comparing. We tend to focus on the one thing that they have got right or is in their favor, or they’re good at while ignoring their struggles, the obstacles they faced. Focusing on yourself, reminding yourself that things that do not require a change will keep you grounded and focused. Maybe your Math needs work but, you’re so good at Literature. Or maybe you can’t sing, but all love your brownies! Wishing you’re just like someone else is unrealistic. It sets you up for failure before you even begin. Further, you end up disregarding who you are complete. 

Learning from a peer or drawing inspiration from someone, on the other hand, has the opposite effect. In this case, you’re not undermining yourself for facing the obstacle that you do. Instead, you’re taking a page from someone’s book and hoping to add a similar one to yours. “If she can, so can I” will work far better than “Of course she can do that, I can’t, I’m good for nothing.” Draw inspiration from others, but do not compare yourself to them blindly.

  1. Positive Self-Talk

When faced with an obstacle, sometimes, we shrink. We feel like curling into a ball in bed and not getting out. We beat ourselves up for not getting it right or not being good enough. We expect ourselves not to have overcome the obstacle without even facing it. But this is what hinders us from getting to Step 1, which is, accepting the problem. If we blame ourselves for things we want to change, we deprive ourselves of an environment of acceptance and unconditional love, which we all deserve. If we are unable to love and accept our faults, how can we expect someone else to? It is, therefore, important to remind yourself that you are amazing the way you are, and you are still growing and changing for good. You are not perfect but perfectly flawed. You are strong enough to face whatever challenge comes your way. Applaud yourself for all the obstacles you successfully overcame. Celebrate the fact that you are open to accepting and improving yourself. (If you made it this far in the article, congratulate yourself, you are getting down to business and are on your way to overcoming your obstacle!)

  1. Ask for Help!

Some obstacles are too big to be dealt with alone, primarily because we do not know how to. Just like you may have to lean on glasses to see clearly, you may have to lean on a professional for guidance on how to deal with certain situations. There is no shame in admitting that you need help. As pointed out earlier, accepting the obstacle will liberate you from it and make room for dealing with it. 

Your Toolkit for Overcoming Them

We all face challenges designed for our respective journeys. The tougher the obstacle, the better the story.  It can be daunting. In my experience, whenever life hits a roadblock, it seems like a dead end. But all that is needed is a detour. Nicer roads with better views await you. If you find yourself at a loss for reasons as to why you should look for another way instead of just giving up, let me help you remember why facing challenges is the only way forward:

  • Helps in cementing our identity:

On our path to facing challenges is where we find our true selves. We discover traits we were not aware of, what motivates us, what works for us. Everything we have faced so far has made us what we are today. Everyone has a story, circumstances, and issues they had to deal with make up their story. Besides, if life was unchallenging and easy, wouldn’t it be too boring? 

  • Solution to staying stuck:

Unless you get past whatever it is, that is hindering your progress. You will remain where you are. To move forward, the only way out is to face your challenge head-on. Use the tools mentioned above and give it your best shot. If you are not successful at all, you will be left with an experience that will help you in all your future endeavors.

  • Makes you believe in yourself:

From learning to talk to giving exams to finding jobs, life inherently puts in place hurdles that we have to jump over. Add to that, customized problems each of us is gifted with. You have undoubtedly conquered some of these challenges, which shows that you can deal with more. Confidence and belief in oneself are often inconsistent. They accompany us on some journeys but are left out on others. Forget not that it is up to you to carry them with you. They make comforting travel companions. When questioning your capabilities to deal with what comes next, look back and see all that you have faced and remind yourself that you can repeat the process. You have it in you. Facing challenges will prepare you for those coming and provide evidence when it becomes difficult to believe in yourself.

  • Sweet reward of victory:

Victory, here, does not refer to the result only but also to the small changes on our way to the end goal. The little changes you make each day and the compounded result after a certain period of time will feel exhilarating. From doing well at one assignment to being handed an entire project, for me, each step of the journey has been worth all the work that went into it. The first bite of the first dish you cook or getting a B on an exam from a C will be rewarded for all your efforts. 

No matter what stage of life you are at, you are bound to be cornered by life. That is just how it works; it forces us to up our game and faces our opponent head-on. As isolating as this might feel, this is exactly how life works for you, for your friends, for all those around you, the only difference being what you have to win against. And while it may seem that others have it easier than you, you can never really be in their shoes to comprehend their situation. Instead, focus on what you have to fight. The bigger the challenge, the bigger the reward. The biggest reward being strength, which is often underestimated. It’s like a cheat code to all your forthcoming problems, the only tool that will never fail you. Go after it, I assure you, it is within your reach.

Obstacles in life are inevitable. It is okay to fail. It is okay to be confronted by the same one again. There is so much to learn, so much to share, and so much to laugh about. All your mistakes and failures will weave themselves into the best stories of your life. Walking away from what you are up against is a loss, no matter how you look at it. You either set yourself up for not being able to conquer it, or you lose out on an experience that would make an incredible chapter in your story. So go on, stand tall and look your obstacle in the eye. Armed with your very own toolkit, you are set for the duel. 

Accept it, share it, break it down into smaller strategies and take it one step at a time. Keep looking at how far you’ve come, and when in despair, remind yourself of how courageous you are for even setting out on this path. You got this!

Also read How to become a life coach

Obstacles in Life – Your Toolkit for Overcoming Them

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top