Greatness Project 2017: “Imaginary obstacles are insurmountable. Real ones aren’t.”
Remember the children’s book about the train that could? “I think I can, I think I can…” That became the mantra of a generation of children. We somehow believed that if we wanted something badly enough we could obtain it. And for the most part, that is true. But if we think about the obstacles in our lives that have stopped us from doing something, or attaining a new level, or reaching a goal, we have to ask ourself honestly, how real was the obstacle?
We have a perverse ability to create monsters out of shadows, to convince ourselves that what is around the corner is deadly and it is in our best interest to turn back. Of course, we do this mostly when we are venturing into the unknown, trying a new behavior, reaching a new level and almost everything is new to us. Yet, look at our lives. Every year we learned something new, moved to a new place, made new friends, started new jobs, or went back to school. All of those moments are frightening in themselves, but are not insurmountable obstacles.
What we need is a reality check. When we feel that we have an insurmountable obstacle in front of us, we need to step back and look at it from another direction. Standing in front of a brick wall will only allow us to know that we can’t get through it. However, perspective might help us to see that it is not as high as we thought, or as wide, or perhaps we realize there is no mortar between the bricks and they will fall easily. If after all of that, the obstacle still seems insurmountable, ask someone else to examine it. Sometimes a different perspective allows us to understand the way an obstacle can be overcome.
The biggest obstacles are those we ourselves create because we know our weaknesses and fears. We can craft obstacles that are personally very fearsome, because sometimes it is easier to believe that a goal is unachievable than to continue the struggle to attain it. Yet the finest moments in life are those when an obstacle has been overcome, an adversary undone, or exhaustion ignored. If we don’t believe we can achieve something, we never will. But when we think we can achieve it, we will find a way no matter the obstacles.