Obstacles: Learning Opportunities in Disguise

“Obstacles are purposely placed in our way to make us understand and express our own capacities.” – Sw. Satchidananda

For those of you who follow Susan on Facebook, you may have seen a couple of seemingly unsuspecting questions she posed regarding obstacles. The responses were an abundance of heartwarming and honest wisdom from her friends.

What stood out is that we are not unique and we all deal with obstacles despite doing our best. Why does it seem so difficult then? Part of being human is that our perceptions and thoughts often determine our reality. Perception of roadblocks and obstacles might be avoided if we saw what stops us as a good opportunity to grow, be more flexible, commit, let go, or be patient. So instead of judging ourselves harshly, or thinking we’re alone in our self doubts, frustrations and self criticism, what if it wasn’t wrong to make mistakes, to not know, or to ‘not be where we think we should be’?

Sounds complicated, doesn’t it? It’s actually quite simple. Obstacles increase our capacity to learn, grow and become more resilient. If we were compassionate and watched our reactions toward difficult people or situations, we could re-set our expectations and have ease and love rather than stress and annoyance.

Try this next time you hit an obstacle:

1. Notice your agitation. Notice that you feel blocked. You probably have a right to feel that way at some level. No problem.

2. Identify the ‘obstacle’. Maybe it’s your own mental state. A missing piece of the puzzle. A situation. A delay. A relationship. A ‘lack’. A wedge between you and your goal.

3. Identify just one thing you can do about it.

4. Look at what you cannot do. And yes we are powerless over a lot, including other people’s opinions, timelines, ‘fairness’, etc.

5. Choose another way to look at it.

6. Re-set your goal, drop it or take responsibility for changing it.

7. Be grateful that learning opportunities are often disguised as ‘problems’ and remember that in five years this very obstacle will be forgotten and behind you.

Bottom line: Remain aware of so-called obstacles and see your role in contributing to situations. Kindness, and a calm, accepting attitude will open up options rather than leading to defeat, nasty meanings about situations, or quitting. For more insight and tips, Follow Susan on Facebook, and share your go-to method for overcoming obstacles. Then check back here to see how others overcome their challenges.

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