What do you do when you run up against an obstacle? Does it mean the end of the road for you, or is it simply something to get around to reach your final goal? Or is it something to knock over when it blocks your path?
Obstacles mean different things to different people, but what should they mean? Certainly some obstacles are immovable and they signal a time to reassess what you are trying to accomplish. However, most obstacles are meant to be knocked over, pushed aside, or simply gotten around.
I am inspired to write this article today after reading Steve Pavlina’s article, Fanatical About Growth. In it he asks a great question. “Where do people get the idea that encountering obstacles is a sign that you should quit pursuing a goal?”
Maybe there are times when obstacles signal that you should quit, but I truly believe they are few and far in between. So many things stand in between us and our goals that if we quit at the first sign of an obstacle we would never accomplish anything. The sad thing is, many people do just that!
To grow we all need to have pressure. By pressure, I mean the internal influences that cause us to act, and the external influences that act upon you. Nothing grows without pressure. In biology you learn that a plant grows and stands tall with the pressure exerted on the inside of it. It’s called turgor pressure. Without this pressure plants will die. Sure, too much pressure and the plant cells will burst, but too little pressure and they wilt away. Without pressure they can not stand up to the external elements.
So what’s the point? The point is to realize that pressure is ok. Obstacles are ok. They are there to help you learn and grow. A lot of our growth comes through a change in perspective. If you start looking at “bad times” as growth opportunities you will react to them a lot differently. You will get a lot more out of them. You will stop being a whiny baby and will start using your muscles to make lemonade out of those lemons that are thrown at you.
The stronger the outside pressures, the stronger your internal pressures need to be to withstand them. We gain strength by raging against these external forces. If we back away from them we never learn, we never grow, and we never get any stronger. If we lose our internal pressure we may die inside.
So know what obstacles are for, especially what they are good for. They are good for some of the most amazing growth experiences in your life. Rage against them. Fight against them. Don’t quit, don’t shy away from them, don’t back away from any obstacles. Only then will you find yourself stronger than you could have ever imagined before…