Obstacles Are Starting Points, Not End Results

The difference between success and failure may be your view on the obstacles you encounter.

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Curt Rosengren
Have you ever run smack into an obstacle--brazenly sitting between you and something you want--and let it stop you in your tracks? Most of us have. Sometimes we even create the story line, that if what we wanted were possible, we would never have encountered that obstacle to begin with.

But here’s the thing--very few things in life worth having will just drop into your lap. Everyone runs into roadblocks. So, what distinguishes the people who overcome them, from the people who give up?

One differentiating factor is how they look at the challenges they encounter. For one, an obstacle is a stopping point, while the other treats each obstacle as a starting point. One wastes time and energy railing against the fact that an obstacle exists, while the other accepts that obstacles are just part of the game and sets about figuring out what the road around it looks like.

When you see an obstacle as an affront to your dream, you give it all your energy. When you treat it as nothing more than a puzzle to be solved, it becomes the key that will unlock the potential of what’s next.

Try this: Make a list of the times you have encountered obstacles standing between you and something you really wanted. For each example, ask, “What did I do? Was it a starting point or a stopping point?”

If it was a starting point that opened up the door to what was next, explore what helped you find the solution. Start building an understanding of how you overcome obstacles so you can do it more consciously in the future.

If it was a stopping point, challenge yourself to come up with potential solutions. Get creative. Start training your brain to see obstacles as nothing more than a puzzle to be solved.

After years as a professional malcontent, Curt Rosengren discovered the power of passion. As a speaker, author, and coach, Rosengren helps people create careers that energize and inspire them. His book 101 Ways to Get Wild About Work and his E-book The Occupational Adventure Guide offer people tools for turning dreams into reality. Rosengren's blog, The M.A.P. Maker , explores how to craft a life of meaning, abundance, and passion.