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Embrace Your Obstacles to Get Ahead in Life

Embrace Your Obstacles to Get Ahead in Life

Can you recall the last time you faced a set back, or an obstacle that really weighed you down?

Whether it was in your past, or you’re presently facing an obstacle, we all have to deal with them. Though, however unpleasant, these obstacles that come our way are necessary for growth. If we never had to face any adversities, blockers, setbacks or failures in life, our experiences would be cake! We’d have it so easy.

The downside? We would never be forced to adapt and mature.

So, in theory, having to face obstacles in life is actually desirable. The more obstacles you’ve faced, the greater the likelihood that you are quite mature and adaptable.

Though, not everyone tackles obstacles enthusiastically and head on. Some people go to great lengths to avoid them… or go into denial about their existence. And, others let obstacles overwhelm them, and they feel defeated.

Most think of obstacles as a negative; but, if you can maintain an opportunistic attitude when facing your obstacles or limitations, you’ll have an even more impressive result once you finally reach your goals!

Now, think about what obstacles are currently in your way.

What might you be faced with? Often, it’s time and/or money limitations.

Here’s an example:

Let’s say you’ve always dreamed of writing a book—you find yourself daydreaming about the possibility (and have practically written 2 chapters in your head). The problem is, after work and family obligations, you definitely don’t have enough time to write. You wish you could just quit your job to pursue writing full-time, but you also need money to pay your bills.

It’s definitely not easy having to be in such a predicament. Most of us simply cannot drop our current routine to pursue something totally different.

But, you can do both!

What I mean is, you won’t reach your goals overnight; but, you can take progressive steps towards them using your obstacles as a guide for your path.

In this case, you have to keep making income, and writing a book doesn’t pay… so, your first challenge is to find a way to make money that will get you closer to writing. Or, you can find a way to increase your time.

One option is to find a job within your field that has more writing responsibility, which will position you well for writing your book, as you’ll gain experience and better understanding of the writing world. Through your own career, you may get closer and closer to becoming a professional writer, which is excellent leverage when it comes to getting paid to publish a book.

Or, you could find just 30 minutes a day to dedicate to writing your book, and maybe get rid of something else you habitually do–such as Netflix or Video games. Those 30 minutes a day will add up and you’ll be making major progress towards your goal.

To successfully overcome adversities and reach your goals, you have to embrace the obstacles that come your way.

You certainly don’t have to celebrate or welcome them with open arms, but rather accept and believe that these obstacles will push you to be stronger, help you grow and mature, and shape you to be more resilient.

Your attitude towards setbacks will define the outcome of whether you rise from the challenge, or remain stuck in it. 

Here are some more great things to love about obstacles.

Obstacles Give You Purpose

Sometimes obstacles can reset your objectives.

You might have always had a particular way of doing things, or wanted to pursue certain goals; but when you’re faced with setbacks or difficulties, you’re forced to re-think, and re-examine your path.

And, you may end up focusing on something new and exciting–maybe something that you otherwise wouldn’t have if not for the particular set back.

Granted, your obstacle may throw you off track for a bit, but it will also help you find strength when you’re faced head-on with a challenge. By having to overcome an obstacle, you’ll be fulfilling a purpose, rather than just going through the motions.

After you’ve overcome an obstacle, you’re more likely to feel confident to overcome the next one that may come your way, and well prepared to tackle other goals ahead.

Obstacles Prepare You for the Unexpected

Even though obstacles aren’t pleasant, they don’t actually prevent us from reaching our intended goals. They serve as guides for where to go next, and–in a way–gives you time to stop and think if perhaps there is a new and better path to take.

While, of course, obstacles can bring out many negative emotions in us, such as frustration, anger, or sadness, it’s important to realize that they don’t inhibit us from reaching our destination – they only change the path we were originally expecting to take.

Obstacles Shift Your Perspective

Obstacles, whether we like it or not, are inevitable.

Life is ever changing, and so we need to constantly change and adapt to new situations.

Life will never stop throwing you new obstacles. So, the best thing to do is know how to better see and deal with these obstacles, and transform them into opportunities for self improvement.

Everybody faces different obstacles – some much more severe than others. A few lucky people float through life with relatively few obstacles, others face more difficulty.

If you think of life like a game of poker, it’s easy to see how it’s advantageous to play the cards you’re dealt to the best of your ability. While inevitably some people are dealt better hands than others, your chances of success are mostly determined by how you play the game.

The more you’re able to see obstacles as being an advantage to your life, the better you’ll be at managing them, and using the experience to propel you further.

Relish a Challenge

Your mindset is key when facing obstacles. When you practice being optimistic through adversity, you’re intentionally shifting away from negative forces that might consume you. This is the power of a positive mindset.

Accepting obstacles will give you purpose, prepare you for the unexpected, and shift your perspective, allowing you to grow into a better version of yourself.

It’s not what happens to us that determines our fate, but rather, what we do about it that makes the difference. It’s the choices we make and the actions we take along the way; it’s the thoughts we have, what we focus on and how we frame what we tell ourselves 24/7.

Here is an inspirational quote that I’d like to leave you with:

“I have learned that success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has had to overcome while trying to succeed” – Booker T. Washington

Look at a current obstacle you’re facing, and ask yourself: “Have I accepted it with a positive mindset?”

Featured photo credit: Martin Olsen via unsplash.com

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on May 7, 2021

Productivity Boost: How to start your day at 5:00 AM

Productivity Boost: How to start your day at 5:00 AM

I have been an early-riser for over a year now. Monday through Friday I wake up at 5:00 AM without hitting the snooze button even once. I never take naps and rarely feel tired throughout the day. The following is my advice on how to start your day (everyday) at 5:00 AM.The idea of waking up early and starting the day at or before the sunrise is the desire of many people. Many highly successful people attribute their success, at least in part, to rising early. Early-risers have more productive mornings, get more done, and report less stress on average than “late-risers.” However, for the unaccustomed, the task of waking up at 5:00 AM can seem extremely daunting. This article will present five tips about how to physically wake up at 5:00 AM and how to get yourself mentally ready to have a productive day.

Many people simply “can’t” get up early because they are stuck in a routine. Whether this is getting to bed unnecessarily late, snoozing repetitively, or waiting until the absolute last possible moment before getting out of bed, “sleeping in” can easily consume your entire morning. The following tips will let you break the “sleeping in” routine.

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Relocate your alarm clock.

Having an alarm clock too close to your bed is the number one reason people simply cannot get up in the morning. If your alarm clock is within arms reach of your bed, or if you can turn your alarm clock off without getting out of bed, you are creating an unnecessarily difficult situation for yourself. Before I became an early-riser, there were many times that I would turn off my alarm without even waking up enough to remember turning it off. I recommend moving your alarm clock far enough away from your bed that you have to get completely out of bed to turn it off. I keep my alarm clock in the bathroom. This may not be possible for all living arrangements, however, I use my cellphone as an alarm clock and putting it in the bathroom makes perfect sense. In order to turn off my alarm I have to get completely out of bed, and since going to the restroom and taking a shower are the first two things I do everyday, keeping the alarm clock in the bathroom streamlines the start of my morning.

Scrap the snooze.

The snooze feature on all modern alarm clocks serves absolutely no constructive purpose. Don’t even try the “it helps me slowly wake up” lie. I recommend buying an alarm that does not have a snooze button. If you can’t find an alarm without a snooze button, never read the instructions so you will never know how long your snooze button lasts. Not knowing whether it waits 10 minutes or 60 minutes should be enough of a deterrent to get you to stop using it.

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Change up your buzzer

If you use the same buzzer day in and day out, you begin to develop a tolerance to the sound. The alarm clock will slowly become less effective at waking you up over time. Most newer alarm clocks will let you set a different buzzer tone for the different days of the week. If you change your buzzer frequently, you will have an easier time waking up.

Make a puzzle

If you absolutely cannot wake up without repetitive snoozing, try making a puzzle for yourself. It doesn’t take rocket science to understand that the longer your alarm is going off, the more awake you will become. Try making your alarm very difficult to turn off by putting it under the sink, putting it under the bed, or better yet, by forcing yourself to complete a puzzle to turn it off. Try putting your alarm into a combination-locked box and make yourself put in the combination in order to turn off the alarm — it’s annoying, but extremely effective!

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Get into a routine

Getting up at 5:00 AM is much easier if you are doing it Monday through Friday rather than sporadically during the week. I recommend setting an alarm once that repeats everyday. Also, going to bed at about the same time every night is an important factor to having a productive morning. Learn how much sleep you need to get in order to not feel exhausted the following day. Some people can get by on 4-6 hours while most need 7-8.

Have a reason

Make sure you have a specific reason to get up in the morning. Getting up at 5:00 AM just for the heck of it is a lot more difficult than if you are getting up early to plan your day, pay bills, go for a jog, get an early start on work, etc. I recommend finding something you want to do for yourself in the morning. It will be a lot easier to get up if you are guaranteed to do something fun for yourself — compare this to going on vacation. You probably have no problem waking up very early on vacation or during holidays. My goal every morning is to bring that excitement to the day by doing something fun for myself.

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As I previously mentioned, I have been using these tips for a very long time. Joining the world of early-risers has been a great decision. I feel less stressed, I get more done, and I feel happier than I did when I was a late-riser. If you follow these tips you can become an early-riser, too. Do you have any tips that I didn’t mention? What works best for you? Let us know in the comments.

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