By: David Othus
“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.”
We all have times in life where things get in our way, hold us back, keep us from the success that we are striving for. Sometimes things feel so bad that we just want to give up. I want you to know that this is completely normal and happens to everyone. I don’t care how high a person has climbed in life, or how low someone is on the socio-economic scale. Everyone has gone through this in their lives. Personally, I have failed so many times in my life that I have lost count, but I am better off today than I have ever been in my life. That doesn’t mean that things are perfect for me, I am still and continuing to work through challenges in life. I work through these by learning, growing, fixing what I can and trying new things to build a new and better future for myself and my family.
We can look at the lives of Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln or any other successful person. They each have had their struggles, both personal and professional struggles. In each case, they have worked through those issues to create a better life for themselves and the world around them. In the words of Henry Ford: “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.”
The following steps are here to help you to overcome the obstacles on your life.
Don’t Give Up, Keep Trying
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
~ Thomas Alva Edison
The difference between the people who have succeeded and the people who have not is simply where they have stopped trying. In his book, Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill tell the story of Mr. Darby who had prospected for gold in Colorado. After a few weeks, Mr. Darby found some gold ore so he purchased a lot of mining equipment. But when they started digging again, the vein of ore disappeared. He sold the entire operation to another man and went back home. The second person started digging and found the vein of gold a mere 3 feet deeper than where Mr. Darby had quit digging.
There are countless stories like this, as well as countless stories of people who persisted through the touch times and reached the success they were after.
If you keep trying, there is always a chance you will succeed but if you are guaranteed failure, because you can never succeed if you give up.
Find Your Reason
“Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.”
~ Sir Winston Churchill
Staying motivated through hard times is often tough. Sometimes things can get so bad that we wonder why we even started in the first place. A strong why, will help get you through the tough times. Only when your reason to accomplish is greater than the pains it takes to achieve your success, will you ever achieve the success you really want.
So ask yourself, why is it you want to persevere? What will life be like once you do overcome these obstacles and have finally achieved the great success you are working towards? How will you feel and what will this success mean and what will it open up for your future to come?
Know your why and you will find it easier to keep going through the rough times and find the success you are looking for at the end.
“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.”
~George Bernard Shaw
Once you really know your reason, take time to thoroughly visualize and imagine what the end state is like. See it, hear it, feel it. The more real and more persistent that you make this image in your mind, the more you will feel and believe it’s reality. And the more you feel and believe in the reality of this end state, the easier it will be for you to find the way to make it come true.
The power of belief is so powerful, that an entire enterprise has been built on it. The reality is that your belief guide how and what you think. How and what you think guide how you act and react to various situations. And how you act then determines the reality that you build. It all starts with belief.
Beliefs -> Thoughts -> Actions -> Reality
If you believe you are a victim, then your thoughts will be those of a victim and you will act as a victim acts and your reality will be that of a victim.
If you believe you are a burgeoning multi-millionaire, then you will start to think like a burgeoning multi-millionaire. You will learn and find ways to make money, see opportunities that very few others saw. You will learn or figure out how to capitalize on these opportunities and act on them. And in the end, you will be the multi-millionaire you believed yourself to be.
It is because of this chain of events of beliefs dictating thoughts, thoughts dictating actions and actions dictating reality, that people say that what you believe to be true will creates your reality.
Simplify and Revision
“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.”
Break down the obstacle into its component parts. What are the individual things that are needed to overcome this challenge? Are there smaller pieces that can be dealt with easily to help get you closer towards achieving your larger goal?
Sometimes it helps to look at each piece and revision what it is you are trying to achieve. By looking at the individual pieces in a different light you can see the objective in a different way and the solution you are looking for might be readily apparent. Perhaps the entire obstacle is something different than you were thinking it was and an entirely different tack is needed to fix it. This insight is often what is needed to overcome the “beating your head into a wall” syndrome that we sometimes seem to face.
Several years ago, I was having issues working with a co-worker. We would look at something and totally disagree both on the solution and sometimes what the problem even was. We were both bright people and were good at solving problems, but whenever we worked together, we had troubles accomplishing anything other than aggravating the other. Our boss took each of us aside and told us to start having lunch together each week so we could get to know each other. We started going out to lunch the next day and over time we built a great friendship. Because we started to understand each other, we learned how to take advantage of each other’s perspective and come up with better solutions than either one of us could individually.
By looking at obstacles through each other’s perspective, we could see and understand whatever we were facing at a much deeper, more complete level and find the right solutions we needed.
To this day, I still count Kelvin as a good and dear friend.
“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.”
Often we don’t have all the answers we need to get through or figure out how to overcome the obstacles in our lives. This is where we need to get help by doing research and from experts.
If we look back at the story of Mr. Darby that Napoleon Hill told us, the man who bought the property and equipment from Mr. Darby didn’t just start digging where Mr. Darby left off, he brought in experts in mining and geology to figure out where the gold was located. Only after he did his research with the aid of these experts did this man find the gold that was waiting to be found.
There are books, articles, videos and experts to help you overcome nearly every obstacle you can imagine! If you are having marital issues, a marriage counselor could be the right expert for you. If you are trying to change careers, then perhaps training from an expert in the field you want to go into would be the right way to go. If you want to start your own business, there are hundreds of successful businessmen turned business coaches to help set your feet on firm ground. There are executive coaches for executives and personal coaches to help people in their everyday lives. And the number of books, videos and articles to help you through virtually any problem you can imagine is large enough to stagger the mind!
The point is, if you are trying to get through an obstacle in life, whether personal or professional, there are resources out there to help you through it. Use those resources, do the research you need, and you will find overcoming that obstacle a much easier task than simply trying to do it all on your own.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
~ Thomas Alva Edison
Sometimes your research will give you several possible paths to take to overcome the challenges you are facing, but none of them are a sure thing. This is when you want to experiment and try different things towards achieving your goal. And if one experiment doesn’t work out, don’t worry, you have other paths you can follow as well. Be willing to fail and try another way. Don’t get so wrapped up in one possible solution that you get disheartened if it doesn’t work, there are several other things that can lead you to the solution you are looking for. When Thomas Edison was working to invent the light bulb, it took him over 10,000 attempts before he discovered the final solution of a thin wire of tungsten that is used today.
In business, we see this all the time. A successful business will come up with an idea and then develop enough of the product to test it to see if it would be successful. Through constant research and experimentation, the product is refined enough that it can be released to production. After it has been tested and is in production, marketing does another round of tests to try different marketing strategies in different markets to see which strategy, which advertisements and so on will have the best impact and result in higher sales.
As a programmer, I am constantly experimenting with new things to create the solutions that help the companies I have worked for. Sometimes I figure out a solution right away, sometimes it takes me several tries. But through research and experimentation I am able to come up with the solutions I need to find and because of this, I have been able to provide data and insights that never existed before and has helped to change the direction of the platforms I help manage.
As a husband, I do this as well. I try to think of things that will make my wife happy, whether that is a new trinket, a new experience or a new way to tell her I love her. By experimenting I am helping to find the things that touch my wife’s heart and make her happy and help improve the overall quality of our relationship and marriage.
Whether we are talking about person or professional life, experimentation is a key component to overcoming the challenges you face.
Find The Happiness
“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.”
In the best-selling 1913 novel by Eleanor H. Porter, Pollyanna, the main character, Pollyanna teaches the residents of Beldingsville, Vermont about something she calls “The Glad Game,” an optimistic attitude she learned from her father. The game consists of finding something to be glad about in every situation.
Looking for the good in every situation is intensely powerful as is having a sincere attitude of gratitude. By focusing on the positives, and being thankful for them, we learn to find the positive solutions in any negative situation.
I once has a very negative boss, who was simply put complete asshole. For the definition of what I am talking about, please refer to “The No Asshole Rule” written by Robert I. Sutton. On one occasion, this manager came into the weekly team meeting, slammed his hands on the table and started insulting the entire team. The pain we suffered working for him caused a couple of us to have complete nervous breakdowns. But the reality is that he was a great motivating factor, and about a third of us quickly left the team to find better employment elsewhere. The reality is that we would have been comfortable staying in our jobs, not really growing, not really learning or becoming more of the successes we were meant to be if not for this very bad boss. Because of him we have all grown beyond our past positions and have senior positions, while those we left behind still have their same old jobs doing about the same things they did when we left. We knew this when we started looking elsewhere, and there was a kind of gladness for having to endure this boss, because we knew that we were breaking out and into a new life where we could grow and become more. It wasn’t an easy time for any of us, but for each of us, we found that bit of happiness knowing that a new and better horizon was soon to come.
Part of finding the happiness is celebrating our successes. When dealing with a particularly hard or arduous challenge, it helps to break apart the tasks into smaller bits and celebrate each victory along the way. As each smaller success comes, celebrate the victory and this will help keep you positive and motivated towards achieving that larger goal.
Finally, find the happiness that others bring to you, in either their helpful attitudes or simply their positive support, and then, thank them for it. There is so much good that can be done by sincerely thanking people for the help they have given you, and you will find that it may likely help you find success for your endeavors in ways you never thought about.