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Do you give up easily? Do you blame yourself? Do you think things cannot change?

Obstacles are not something we talk about when we discuss achievement. Yet, how you deal with your obstacles is just what determines whether you fail or succeed!

A young woman was very depressed, convinced that she would not be able to achieve anything meaningful in her life. She had a Master’s degree and a few years of good work experience. However, for the last two years she was underemployed as a Manager at a local store. She felt frustrated, fatigued and exploited at her workplace. She felt powerless to change her life situation.

She had multiple obstacles to achieving her desired job: low energy, low motivation, high stress, limiting self-beliefs and a difficult environment.

The young woman had low motivation to achieve her current goals in a job which she clearly saw was dead-end. Working for long hours left her too fatigued to think about what kind of a job she really wanted. She had stopped believing she could have a better life.

She drew up a Work Vision with the help of a personal coach. She reduced her work hours and reallocated that time to look for other jobs. She learned exercise and relaxation techniques to manage energy and stress levels. She learned how to stay focused on her agenda. To her amazement, making a few small changes helped her overcome big obstacles.

In a few weeks, she progressed from feeling depressed at being a failure to feeling ok, motivated to pursue her new goals, using new techniques she had learned to tackle her obstacles. She was now managing better at her same old workplace, and yet found the time, energy and motivation to search for a better job. Having successfully overcome her inner obstacles, she now felt confident of manifesting her outer goals.

“I felt as if I had been locked inside a room for many years, and now I had been set free. These barriers held me back for so long,” she says with relief.


Six Common Obstacles

  1. 1.     Your Goals

Goals can become obstacles if they have low resonance with you, or are poorly matched with your capabilities and challenges.

Many a parent has found too late that their children are frustrated and failing at college courses which were not the best fit for them; so do adults while working in jobs they find dreadful. Are you aware of your special talents, vocational inclinations and unique challenges? Developing your better talents or interests by professional training gives you and the world a better chance for personal success, but also benefits larger society from a high level skill of its member. 

The root vocational question is not ‘What should I do?’, but ‘Who am I’?

  1. 2.     Attitude towards Failure

You failed yet another job interview or haven’t found a life partner. What do you do? Do you get frustrated, blame yourself or the situation or try to find a solution?

The resilience to bounce back after a setback is said to be the mark of a successful person. Resilience is the top quality which recruiters are looking for among candidates for college seats and for corporate positions. Yet, few of us are comfortable with our failures.  

You can develop a healthier attitude towards setbacks if you can learn to be Ok with failure as an essential part of success. Writing your personal Failure Resume can help you use your failures to your advantage by understanding what doesn’t work for you. In the social context, removing the stigma of failure will encourage people to take worthwhile risks at home, school and workplace.

  1. 3.     Limiting Beliefs

Sometimes, we fail even before we try. Some obstacles are within us - limiting beliefs, attitudes, habits, fears, doubts, and cant do’s. The sabotaging self-talk of the internal critic tells us of hundred things we cannot do. What limiting story are you telling yourself?

Stretch your limits gently by doing fun things, which you do not usually do, such as wearing a new colour or trying a new cuisine. A powerful way to deal with self-limitations is to rephrase your self-doubt. Ask not ‘Whether I can do it?’, but ‘Is it worthwhile to do this’?

Energise your impossible-looking-goals by the higher vibration your higher emotions, such as love, freedom, service. For example, if you think you can’t get any healthier, try to see it as a gift to your kids or your mother. Doing things for others is actually easier and less frightening!

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela.

  1. 4.     Lack of time

“I want to get fitter, richer, smarter, but I don’t have time.”

Lack of time is a commonly reported obstacle to reaching your goals; also common is to fail to allocate adequate or regular time resources towards your goals. It could because you have too many goals or poor time planning or both.  

Time is finite, so should be your to–do list. You can ‘create time’ to spend on your important goals by simply auditing your day to spot time leakages, and mismatches in your priorities and schedules.

Ironically, lack of enough time can also be your best ally! Since none of us can predict how long we will live, we can leverage this uncertainty of our life spans to put in our best efforts today towards our goals which are truly meaningful to us. 

What have you done today in pursuit of your goals?


  1. 5.     Difficult Environment

All obstacles are not within us. Difficult environments such as a toxic workplace, stressful family atmosphere, competitive classroom or just bad weather, make reaching your goals much more difficult. However smart and motivated you are, bad environments lower your chances to succeed. Is your physical and social environment conducive or obstructive to your efforts?

To tackle a challenging environment, you must actively engage with it. You can try to change it to suit your purposes or to leave it for more conducive places. For example, you may have to leave a city to find desirable work or leave a personal situation to be happy.

You will need extra care in managing your environment, if you are a Highly Sensitive Personality (HSP) type, a person who is more susceptible to environmental influences. HSP’s have high sensory processing sensitivity and work best in calm environments.

  1. 6.     Learn to overcome

It is useful to remember that we can always ‘learn’ how to overcome our obstacles. For example, if you tend to give up easily, you can learn to persist. New techniques, new beliefs, new environment, new goals, and a helping hand are what may help you overcome your challenges.

Learning from struggles of other people is inspiring. Humanitarian, educationist, activist Helen Keller became blind, deaf and mute by the age of two. Keller, who struggled for two decades to learn how to communicate to other people, said, “There is much suffering and much overcoming.”

Every challenge is an opportunity to do something differently. Every overcoming of a personal hurdle illuminates a path for fellow beings to overcome a similar challenge.

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