How to Overcome Your Greatest Obstacle (…in just three easy steps!)

It sounds like an infomercial. “How to overcome your greatest obstacle and change your life forever…for only three easy payments of $39.95! That’s right, folks, just three easy payments of $39.95! It’s simple and it’s fast, with only three easy steps to guarantee your success!”

Well listen up everyone, because this advice is free. Worthy of three easy payments? I’d like to think so. I’m also not an expert (though I doubt the infomercial hosts are experts on their product either…) and I’m also not being paid to sell you a product or to write this blog post (although, if you know of anyone hiring a blogger, let me know).

I’ve come to a realization this past week, which is something I’ve heard and thought about before, but something that I had never personally felt. My realization was this: I am my own greatest obstacle.

Well, shit.

Just think about that for a minute. Michael, you want to have a young, fun twentysomething life? You want to do something meaningful with your life? You want to make more friends and be closer to family? Well then what’s stopping you??”

Me. I have been stopping myself from achieving any of these things, and that is a terrifying and empowering statement. How can one person, me, be the cause of such a large blocking point to my own happiness, while also being the same person that could propel it forward? I realized that I just needed to allow myself to do so.

However, this is not everyone’s greatest obstacle. Some people actually allow themselves to enjoy the things in life that they want to enjoy. So, with that said, here are “three easy steps” to overcoming your greatest obstacle.

  1. Identify Your Obstacle
    1. I am twenty four years old, and I’ve spent the last two years complaining about why I don’t have as many friends as I want, about how I feel like an old man, about how I’m not a “fun” person anymore. AKA, since I graduated, life hasn’t been what it used to be, and I hate that I feel that way. But after all that, I just realized what my true obstacle is…me. This is called the brainstorming part of this process. Or, the WHY. Why wasn’t I making as many new friends as I wanted? Why did I feel like such an old man, and why didn’t I like that? I was a walking contradiction. I wanted to have young, twentysomething fun, get drunk with friends until 4am at the bars, but when anyone ever invited me and it was past ten o’clock, I’d say no thank you, it was past my bedtime. And it’s not all or nothing. Some nights, I know that I will want my alone time to write and read and be asleep by 11. Other nights though, I need to prepare to get my dancing shoes on and just have a good time.
  2. Get Ready to Fly (and Fall)
    1. Okay, so life is full of ups and downs. It’s full of ifs. There are forwards and backwards. Jumps and falls. Gives and takes. It’s a jumble. I’ve acknowledged myself as my own greatest obstacle, which feels like a huge advancement towards my own personal well-being. I’ve figured it out! I’ve cracked the code! But after flying for a little bit on that piece of knowledge, I realized that identifying my obstacle was only the first step. In fact, it made me feel a little bit more behind because now I see how far I need to go. My advice is not to get discouraged. It’s a journey, right? So embrace the journey. The end point isn’t the goal. Working towards it can be a rewarding experience, you just have to prepare yourself.
  3. Jump Right In
    1. Don’t hesitate. Get started. Jump right in. Why wait? Last night, I was sitting around my apartment, bored and alone on a Saturday night. I thought about writing, I thought about reading, I thought about going to bed at 9:07pm…but I didn’t want to do any of those things. So, I texted a new friend from Starbucks and asked if he wanted to hang out. I took a risk. And sure enough, he did! And I had a really, really nice time. And if he said no? No big deal, maybe that would be part of the “flying/falling” experience. For me, I know that I tend to make excuses. For example, I usually don’t want to go out with crowds of other twentysomethings because I’m better in a one on one setting and I feel like I tend to better connect with forty year olds. But I know now that I need to forget about those excuses and just jump right in and do it. What better time to start now, with 100% of your head and your heart?

With all that said, I’m curious…what is your greatest obstacle? How do you plan to overcome it?