5 Ways to Overcome Obstacles

November 27, 2013

Overcoming Obstacles

The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.  –Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

The best way to overcome obstacles, Randy Pausch suggests, is to imagine they’re opportunities to prove how badly you want to succeed. Here are five other ways to overcome (or avoid) obstacles:

  1. Focus on the Goal–Is your mind focused on the obstacle–its dimensions, nature, power, and seeming invincibility or inevitability?  If so, step away from the obstacle for a moment. Focus on your goal instead. Your goal will dictate what steps you need to take. You might be able to avoid the obstacle altogether.
  2. Change the Environment–The obstacle likely draws its strength from the environment (people, place, and related resources). How might the obstacle change if you changed the environment–the people, place, or resources?
  3. Change Your Behavior–If you behave the same way every time, you will face the same obstacle every time. How might you behave differently this time?
  4. Change Your Perspective–If you don’t change your perspective, the obstacle will always look the same. Change your vantage point, and you may find a new path over or around the obstacle.
  5. Seek an Outsider–If you are too close to a situation, your brain will continue to rationalize and justify your stuck-ness. An outsider can help you see the situation (both the obstacle and your relation to it) in a new light. An outsider can help you decide how best to change your perspective, behavior, and/or environment.

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