The challenge, the obstacle, and the gift
By: Mira T.
We all feel stuck sometimes in a difficult or complicated situation, whether it’s making a decision or making a change. Although what is considered “difficult and complicated” will be different for each of us, there is one commonality: the confusion of how to go through it. Finding a way to go through it is about knowing the result we are looking for and taking the steps towards it. It’s not really about the decision or the change in and of itself. It’s about a different kind of perspective; one that allows us not to get distracted with every single stepping stone on the way to achieving what we want in our lives.
Now, imagine that you’re sick and tired of your current job and you have a dream to do something else, something completely different. The result you are looking for is spending the rest of your life doing what you love. Now that you know your goal, you have to move past the initial questioning part, when all those question of uncertainty just pop up from every which way (e.g. How do I do that? What if I fail? Am I really as good as I think? Is it worth the risk?). Since I, like every other human being, have been distracted multiple times with questions and doubts, at some point in my life I got so tired of that that I had to find a way to deal with it without losing all of my energy to my uncertainty and insecurity. I started by exploring what exactly did I consider a difficult or complicated situation. Then I asked myself, “If I’m sure of what I want, why is it so difficult to get there? How can I reduce all the distractions coming my way and stop losing focus on where I want to be?”
What I found was that every situation is composed of a challenge, obstacle(s), and a gift. Each one of those parts is playing a different role in the way we get through things in life, because each represents the different level of understanding about what I believe is the most important thing: the goal, the achievement, the outcome. I also think that we can implement this idea in every little thing that we are dealing with in our lives. I created for myself a trinity of how to assess and work through difficult situations in my life.
It might be something new or unknown that we have to deal with it. We feel uncertainty, doubt, or confusion about what is the first thing that we need to do in order to resolve the issue. “The challenge” stage is about starting a certain process in which we assess what we really want and how we are going to achieve that. It is a process of questioning and finding motivation regarding our actions. It is a challenge because it dares us to do something. It dares us to go further.
I consider it also a decision maker because, at this point, we are trying to figure out how we deciding how to move past the situation we’re stuck in.
Once we figure out how we would like to go through the situation or resolve the problem, there comes the obstacle(s).
The obstacle usually will be something frightening or difficult that prevents us from seeing the final goal. It might also prevent us from even making a step toward it. The obstacle will make things look really hard (which it might be) and will often make us feel hopeless about ever reaching our end goal. So not only is our problem difficult but we are mired in obstacles without a clear view.
The obstacle is the real test. It tells us how much we want the result, about how much we really want what is at the end of the road. The more willing we are to get over the obstacle, the more passionate we are about the result.
There is always an obstacle. It can be either a feeling or something in the world around us that will be hard to overcome. The interesting part about obstacles is that their function is to distinguish the things that we really want from those that are not so important to us. The moment when we really want something is the moment when we start battling the obstacles—day by day, piece by piece.
Dividing the obstacles into small ones is the easiest way to deal with them. It is motivating, because every time one obstacle is overcome, we somehow feel inspired and hopeful to continue the journey.
There is always a gift at the end of the road.
It could be the result that we’ve been looking for or something that we’ve experienced during the whole process or a totally new outcome that we hadn’t even imagined. In fact, sometimes the gift is not about the result itself. It is about the whole trip we’ve been through on the way to the result, the knowledge that we’ve gained or the truths that we’ve learned.
There is a gift in every obstacle we challenge!
Editor’s note: For more great reading on the concept discussed in this article, pick up Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield, and Running Down a Dream: Your Road Map To Winning Creative Battles by Tim Grahl.