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Last Updated on December 1, 2020

7 Powerful Ways To Overcome Obstacles And Win In Life

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7 Powerful Ways To Overcome Obstacles And Win In Life

Obstacles are the stumbling blocks that prevent you from reaching your goals. They are the limiting factors that hinder you from achieving your desired dreams, and you have to overcome these obstacles to move further in life.

It’s not enough to set goals; you need to actualize your goals. It is at the point of execution that life becomes unbearable as unexpected setbacks and obstacles set in.

It is not an understatement to say that every success comes with challenges. Those challenges often come as problems you need to solve. If you can solve them, you can then have the assurance that you can reach your goals.

7 Reasons Why Obstacles Are Important

So why is it important to overcome obstacles? Can you go through life without encountering any limitations?

Here are 7 reasons why obstacles are important in life.

1. Obstacles Reveal Your True Identity

Some life challenges will rip you apart. When this occurs, you get to know who you truly are. Sometimes, you don’t know your full capabilities and tendencies. Obstacles exist to test you and stretch you beyond limits.

The fact is once your limitations and inclinations have been revealed, you can begin to take steps to deal with them so you can win in life. You’ll be forced to overcome these obstacles, which will help reveal your true self.

2. Obstacles Direct Your Actions

Someone once said you could walk on water; you only need to know where the stones are placed. The stumbling blocks on your path create a new way to get to the next level or phase.

For instance, if someone continually hurts your feeling, the situation allows you to practice the art of forgiveness. Every problem comes with its solution. You only need to shift your perspective to uncover the lessons that challenges have to teach you.

No wonder Benjamin Franklin once affirmed that:

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The things which hurt, instruct.

Once you receive instructions, learn, and make progress in the directions of your goals.

3. Obstacles Make You Tougher

No one comes with the natural ability to withstand challenges; you have to develop your resilience through life. And don’t you ever think everything will come to you on a platter of gold. That only happens in the grave

As long as you are here, you’d have to overcome obstacles and surmount difficulties. The essence of obstacles is to toughen you so you can be courageous. It would be best if you dared to change your circumstances – to improve yourself and the world.

And if you discover you are losing courage, obstacles can toughen you more so you can move to the next phase.

4. Obstacles Enable You to Focus on What Counts

Not everything counts in life, so you need to focus on your goals and pursue your life missions. Once you are clear about your goals and tasks, every obstacle that comes your way looks smaller and manageable.

But when you lack clues and direction, this uncertainty magnifies every limitation and makes your pursuit a massive mountain that you need to climb.

The bottom line is that you need to be clear about your goals and focus like a laser so you can surmount the few mountains that deserve your attention.

5. Obstacles Unleash Your Creativity

You don’t know how far you can run until you meet a lion in the jungle. That’s the beauty of life!

Without impediments, you may not reach the untrodden territory. It takes persisting and resisting to learn where others fail because they were impatient. Obstacles are capable of stretching your creative muscles so you can go beyond the limits.

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6. Obstacles Help You Find Meaning to Your Life

Your perception of life determines your outcome. You might want to take a cue from the experience of President Abraham Lincoln. While he battled with depression all though, he led the United States through one of the most challenging times in history: The Civil War.

Lincoln discovered the art of fining meaning despite his inner turmoil by channeling his efforts outward by uniting the entire nation. He learned the art of endurance. He articulated this attitude and derived meaning from his obstacles.[1]

He discovered purpose and found succor in a more prominent cause higher than his obstacles.

7. Obstacles Can Help You Discover Meaning Beyond Your Inner Troubles

Just like Lincoln, you can find your purpose when you cease from peering at your troubles and begin to seek how you can make others happy. You can rise above your obstacles by lifting others.

This strategy is one of the best approaches to deal with depression. It is a way of starving your problems of time so you can focus on others suffering.

Here’s the added advantage!

Focusing outward will enable you to improve inward.

7 Ways to Overcome Obstacles in Life

Now that you know the significance of obstacles, here are 7 ways you can turn them into stepping stones.

1. Find Out What’s Limiting You

Sit down and assess your limiting factors. What are the obstacles standing between you and your goals?

Figure out why you are not meeting the deadline. Avoid dredging up your list of complaints as it will eventually culminate into excuses.

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For instance, if you said,’ I don’t have sufficient time,’ reflect on what you spend your time and energy on. Your limiting factors could be procrastination, complacency, or external events. If you said, ‘I don’t have enough funds,’ this is most times related to priorities.

Your immediate challenge may be a lack of motivation or time, or you need to commit to learning how to earn extra income and reduce your expenses.

2. Review the Obstacle’s Timeline

How long have you been dealing with the challenge? What attitude or habit is hindering you from overcoming the obstacles? Finding answers to these questions will enable you to make the right changes.

For instance, if you changed your job, there could be something about your new job or workplace that is challenging you. It could be the fact that you need to cope with a new environment.

Reflect on the different obstacles you have faced in life. Whether you work over them or not, take a cue from your experience and apply the lessons in dealing with new challenges.

3. Determine What’s Beyond You

Some challenges are beyond you. They are so daunting that you don’t have a clue on how to overcome them. Perhaps, you are even afraid or weak to the bone.

It shouldn’t be the end of the world. Just take a deep breath and list those things you can control, such as:

  • Your habits
  • How much energy you exert
  • Your decision when you are offered an opportunity
  • Your lifestyle-exercise, diet, and relaxation, all of which affect your mood and personal disposition

Focus on what you can control. Start by cultivating all the good habits to have in life.

4. Break Your Goals Down

Giant stride is not about taking one leap to the top of the highest mountain; it is about boldness to pursue your goals in the face of oppositions. It’s reasonable to break your goals into bits and develop a checklist to figure out the obstacles hindering you from actualizing the first box.

For instance, if you aspire to be the best copywriter in the world, one impending obstacle is to enroll and follow through an online course. Thus, your new goal can be to apply for an online class on copywriting. You can surmount this obstacle by opening your Google browser right now.

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5. Maintain an Active Plan

Always work with a to-do list. Begin your day with what you have to do and achieve your goal. Recognize that there will be obstacles and distractions. The lessons from facing obstacles will help you to adapt your plan in finding the best strategy to achieving your goals.

6. Improve Your Problem-Solving Skills

If you tend to make decisions base on your instincts, you may try to be more analytic.

Here are some strategies you can adopt to making a decision:

Worst case scenario: If I enroll for the copywriting course and I fail, where would I end up? Design a backup plan for this eventuality.

Cost-benefit analysis: What would I gain if I complete the copywriting course. Assess if the benefits are worth the sacrifices.

7. Track Your Progress

As you pursue your goals, keep a journal of your successes and challenges. Establish milestones and compensate yourself when you complete each milestone. There are four steps you can take to track your progress.

Final Thoughts

Obstacles give life meaning. As long as you are on the face of the earth, you will keep facing challenges. It’s up to you to change your perspectives and deal with obstacles with the right mindset. It’s either they become your stepping stones or stumbling blocks.

Choose to live your life by design and apply the tips I have shared above to overcome whatever obstacle you are facing. Stay safe, and stay strong!

More Tips on How to Overcome Obstacles

Featured photo credit: Mike Throm via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] TheAtlantic: Lincoln’s Greatest Depression

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Published on November 29, 2021

Why the 10-80-10 Rule Is Key To Achieving Success

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Why the 10-80-10 Rule Is Key To Achieving Success

The 10-80-10 rule is an extension of the Pareto principle that says 80% of productivity/wealth is generated/owned by 20% of the population.[1] This ratio is often observable in various statistics and studies.

The 10-80-10 rule takes this principle and applies it more specifically to human behavior. It is also malleable, enabling people to move between categories. If we apply it to a company (just as an example), in essence, the 10-80-10 rule looks like this:

  • 10% Highly Productive Elite – This is the core of your business. These people will work all the hours that God sends for your company, leaving no stone unturned and generating the maximum possible productivity/revenue for you that they can.
  • 80% Productive – These lovely folks make up the majority of your business and will work 9-5, getting their tasks done and not making much of a fuss about it. They are less likely to offer innovation, but they are reliable, trustworthy, and dutiful.
  • 10% Unproductive and Defiant – These people are outliers and mercifully low in number, but they create work. They are difficult, unwilling to work hard, and generally take more from your company than they give.

This can also be applied in other areas of life. Morality is another example, with the vast majority (80%) of us being law-abiding citizens who may bend the rules occasionally, 10% being unscrupulously good, and 10% being out-and-out criminals.

Who Came Up With the 10-80-10 Rule?

As touched on earlier, the 10-80-10 rule is an off-shoot of the Pareto Principle, first conceived of in the early twentieth century by Italian civil engineer turned economist Wilfredo Pareto. He simply observed that 80% of the property in Italy, at that time, was owned by 20% of the population. Wealth distribution, according to Pareto, was divided 20/80 across all sections of society. The country, age, gender, or industry didn’t matter. This principle still applied.

Later on in the 1940s, Joseph M. Juran (himself an engineer and management consultant) applied the Pareto Principle to human behavior with the aim of improving quality control, positing that 80% of the success on any one project would be due to the efforts of 20% of the team working on it.

Since then, various researchers and theorists have expanded the Pareto principle into the 10-80-10 rule—observing that 10% are true leaders, 80% seek guidance from others, and 10% wilfully act in a counter-productive manner.[2]

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How to Apply the 10-80-10 Rule to Management to Be More Successful

Well, let’s stay with the team/workforce model for now: if you want to improve productivity in your company, where should your focus be? All too often, “the squeaky wheels get the grease.” That is to say, we tend to try and fix what’s most broken in our organization (namely the bottom 10%) before we move on to the less broken.

When you realize, though, that you’re pouring resources into just 10% of your labor force, it starts to look very inefficient. Moreover, that 10% is comprised of folks who are highly unlikely to change their tune (statistically anyway). You need to focus on the 80%. That’s where you’ll have the most impact and where you’ll create the biggest uplift in productivity. The 80% aren’t (of course) completely equal. Some will sit closer to either of the 10% range, but this means that you should be able to increase the size of your top 10% to be more like 20 or 30%.

How Much of a Difference Would That Make?

Now, before you slam your laptop shut, haul off, and start brainstorming ideas about team-building exercises and corporate days out, it is first very important to understand the metric by which you measure productivity. Numbers on a spreadsheet or letters next to a person’s name only paint part of the picture.

What you value in your company is unique to you. As I’m constantly saying to entrepreneurs and business owners that I coach, you have to be specific with what you are asking of your team, your customers, and the universe at large. Ask a vague question and you’ll get a vague answer.

So, do the work of understanding exactly what is working for you and what isn’t. Simply saying that you want revenue to increase is not enough. By how much? In what areas? Who will we add value to increase their spending with us? Where and whom should we target for new growth?

Who Does This Desired Increase in Productivity Help You Become and Who Does It Serve?

Armed with this, you will have much more clarity to take to your team and with which to start formulating a plan of action. You can look at what would incentivize those in the 80% who just need a slight nudge. That’s where minimum effort will yield maximum results! So, start there.

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A 2014 Gallup poll found that a third of the US workforce felt unmotivated in their jobs, with the highest levels of motivation found among managers.[3] This tells us two things:

  • Firstly, the unmotivated third is comprised partly of those in the 80% camp, but the entirety of the unmotivated 10% is in there, too. If you take them out (because they are those people), the remainder isn’t as many people and they are in a group that still wants to work and get on.
  • Secondly, those in a position of management (i.e. those who feel as though they can effect change in the company) tend to be the most motivated.

Now, let’s not confuse motivation with productivity. You can be as motivated as you like, but without proper strategy or direction, you’ll just be a hammer in search of a nail. Nevertheless, those in management who felt the most motivated to be productive are worth interrogating.

Why Did They Feel More Motivated?

I would posit that the answer is very simple: they felt heard and that they could affect change. It’s a hugely important part of human psychology that we feel as though our ideas, thoughts, and feelings are heard by others. When we feel ignored, we feel unvalued. When we feel unvalued, we are (naturally) unmotivated.

This is not to say that you should make everyone a manager within your company. Your business might be a start-up or just a few people working out of your converted garage. The point is, make sure that they all feel heard. I guarantee you that—especially among the upper end of the 80%—you will see the greatest uptick in productivity if you simply listen to them. Make them feel as though they have a vested interest in growing your business, too.

If they can see the role that they play is important and understood by you, they will push themselves to go further, work harder, and achieve more. You have to put yourself in their shoes, which brings us on to the next point. . .

How to Use the 10-80-10 Rule to Improve Success

Okay, so far we’ve just looked at the 10-80-10 rule as it pertains to the success of groups. But how does it apply to us as individuals? What can we learn from it and use in our day-to-day lives?

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You might be a sole trader or maybe a consultant—someone who does not have a team to rally and simply sells your services to others. In that instance, how does this work for you? Divide yourself up into the 10-80-10. Do it by tasks: what are you most efficient/gifted at, what are you good at, and what do you constantly put off doing?

Here’s an example. Say you’re a writer (where did I get this one from?), and you’re very successful. You are asked to write articles for lots of great, top publications like LifeHack, or maybe you’re writing a book and your screenplay just got picked up by Warner Brothers. Writing is your 10% elite. It’s where you offer the greatest value.

It’s probably not the actual writing so much as it’s the creativity, ideas, and talent that you can bring to bear in your writing. The actual writing—sitting down at your computer, tapping it out, proofreading, and catching spelling/grammar mistakes—that’s your 80%. Sure, you’re good at it. You are competent and get it done. But it’s not where you are at your most powerful, and you usually run out of steam at some point during the day.

Then, there’s your bottom 10%. That’s probably your operational tasks, such as your timekeeping, bookkeeping, invoicing, correspondence, tax return, etc.

Where Do I Get These Examples From?

So, where can you be most effective in taking action that will support you in accelerating your growth? Again, start with the 80%. Try finding ways to improve the writing experience for you. Maybe observe yourself on a typical day, and note when you do your best work. It might be right after your second coffee that you stay at your desk for longer and write with the greatest clarity. So, start structuring your day around that.

What has that cost you? Nothing! It was simply a case of reorganizing your day and bingo, you are doing more of your best work in less time than it took you before. Pretty soon, after you’ve tightened up your day so that you are of maximum productivity, you’ll find that you have more time and resources.

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Once you are better resourced, having landed bigger and bigger jobs, you’ll be able to take care of that pesky bottom 10%. It could be that you eliminate it by outsourcing the work to someone else. Now that you earn more for less of your time, why not? Just take it out of the equation altogether.

Final Thoughts

The 10-80-10 rule is not about adding ridged structures or following strict rules per se. It’s simply a lens through which to view human behavior, including your own. The reason why it is (or could be) the key to your success is that it enables you to identify those small changes that you can make that will have the greatest impact and accelerate your growth the fastest.

If you categorize your labor and the labor of your employees in this way, you’ll be able to more easily identify where you can have maximum impact with minimum input. If you continue to work out from there, your success will snowball, and you’ll have the support in place to maintain it.

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Featured photo credit: Andreas Klassen via unsplash.com

Reference

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