Overcoming Obstacles


“If you can find a path without obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere” – Frank A. Clark.

Life is all about having purpose, meaning and about being productive.

We all have the ability to do whatever we want with our lives. We, also, all face obstacles in every facet of life, work included.

Everyone struggles in everyday life in one way or another.

It is easy to let setbacks define us but it is also critical to learn from them. Too often people tend to focus on what is not right instead of figuring out how to make things right.

Our mind is a survival tool whose primary focus is to keep us safe and in our comfort zone. Challenge it! If you don’t control it, it will control you!

The next time that you are tempted to give up in the face of a formidable obstacle, consider that:

  • Benjamin Franklin couldn’t afford to attend school after he turned 10;

  • Oprah Winfrey was abused as a child and ran away from home at age 13;

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt lost the use of his legs to polio before becoming president;

  • Vincent van Gogh is believed to have suffered from bipolar disorder;

  • Ludwig van Beethoven suffered from tinnitus and a gradual loss of hearing;

  • Winston Churchill suffered emotional instability;

  • Walt Disney had attention deficit disorder;

And the list goes on …

They are all people with a high internal locus of control.

According to the Concept of Locus of Control:

  • People with a high internal locus of control take 100% responsibility for everything in their lives. They believe in their own ability to control themselves and influence the world around them. They feel they control their destiny and the level of success they experience in every single area of their life.

  • People with high external locus of control blame, complain about, or justify their situation. They blame external events for what they experience in their life. They feel as if the actions of others are outside their control. They feel as if others control their results and their destiny and that they cannot do anything about it.

Develop a “Deal with it and move on” attitude towards obstacles, mistakes and failures.

Anything could always have been done better. Research says that successful general managers have made more mistakes in their careers than the people they were promoted over. They got promoted because they had the guts to lead, not because they were always right.

Invest in self-belief and confidence: You are unlikely to overcome a mistake or obstacle if you don’t believe you are capable of overcoming it. Your doubts will paralyse you and focus you on problems and not the solutions you need to get the outcomes you want. You must therefore develop the necessary confidence that will help you to think far more effectively:

  • Read inspirational books about how others facing adversity overcame it;

  • Attend conferences/work shops that foster confidence building;

  • Think about all the things you worry about. Jot them down in words or pictures. Once you finished “mapping” your worries, start thinking about solutions or ways to ease your concerns. Brainstorm ideas with others;

Take your time to learn from every obstacle, every failed result and every unsatisfactory outcome. Step back from your emotions and see the situation from an external perspective – through logic and reason.

The more you learn, the more you will grow and the better you will be able to deal with the obstacles that lie ahead on your path. Obstacles are not your enemies they are your catalyst for your personal growth.

Your story, our platform: If you’ve got a story and would like to share it with other Femflectors, please let us know. Femflection is all about transferring learnings to help others, be they big or subtle. We want to connect with your feelings, your learnings, your reflections or your hopes for the future – in blog or interview format. Express yourself here. Get in touch with us via anja.uitdehaag@femflection.com


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