We are all human, and as dramatically different as we pretend to be, we are very much the same. That’s why a blog can attract so many viewers, or why sports teams have such a huge fan base. It’s even why medicine can be mass-produced, because we are so similar genetically and socially for that matter. We face similar life circumstances, and one of those is “obstacles”.
What is an obstacle?
An obstacle can literally be anything. To some people, it can be getting up on time, and for others, it can be how they are going to get a million page views this month. Obstacles have no specific criteria, they merely come when we decide we want or need something other than what we have at the moment. For instance, you own a Honda but you want a Mercedes Benz, or you make $100 a week, but need $200 a week to survive.
An obstacle is by-product of having a desire that comes either directly from you or indirectly from what your environment desires from you. Look at the two obstacle examples I gave you again. The first one, you own a Honda, but you want a Mercedes Benz, is a direct desire from you that will evolve into a series of obstacles to reach the desire of owning a Mercedes Benz.
The second example of you making $100 a week but needing $200 to survive is an example of an indirect desire placed upon you by your environment. It also evolves into a series of obstacles in order for you to obtain $200 a week.
How to beat obstacles
The first step is to understand that obstacles are a by-product of a desire whether it be a direct (from you) or indirect (not from you). The second step is being able to differentiate between direct desires and indirect desires. Where the desire stems from dramatically changes the way you deal with the obstacles it creates.
Dealing with direct desires.
As a human being in a world that pushes advertising like oxygen, it’s normal to desire (want) a lot of things. Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with desiring everything the world has to offer. The problem occurs when every desire you produce evolves into a series of obstacles to obtain that desire. If you desire an apple, a Mercedes Benz and a two-year vacation, you are unconsciously putting yourself on a roller coaster of obstacles that will play out something like this . . .
You wake up and check your fridge to find that all the apples are gone. You now have to take a shower, get dressed, and head to the nearest grocery store. If you decide not to take a shower, will the indirect desires of your environment (the established idea that you should be hygienic) bother you when you’re looking for your apple?
You find your apple, head to self-checkout, and of course, your machine is not registering the item at all, and the attendant is too busy to notice. You wait silently until the attendant intuitively knows you have been cursing the service for the last 10 minutes and aids you in purchasing your apple.
Did you see how fast . . .
Desiring something as simple as an apple turns into a series of obstacles you cannot prepare for? The moral of the story is you can control what you desire, but you cannot control the obstacles that arise while trying to achieve that desire.
If you substituted the example of apples for the Mercedes Benz or the two-year vacation, can you imagine how prolonged the series of obstacles would be? Waaaaay beyond the scope of this blog, that’s for sure.
Applying obstacle filtration.
The mind is literally capable of producing a gazillion desires a minute. Do you know how many obstacles you would have to overcome to satisfy every desire? Not only is it impossible to satisfy every desire, it is detrimental to your health to even attempt to do so.
That’s why it’s crucial for you to learn to filter your desires. Instead of wanting an apple, a Mercedes Benz and a two-year vacation, you should screen through the desires that require a gazillion obstacles each, and pick just one desire that comes with a gazillion obstacles.
Instead of wanting the Mercedes Benz and the two-year vacation, pick the desire you want the most. Put the other one off until the first one is achieved. This way you still have time to get your apple (to enjoy the small pleasures that life has to offer) while keeping enough vitality to overcome your main obstacle.
Beating indirect desires.
Indirect desires are a combination of life processes outside your control and things within your control. Let’s talk about the things outside of your control first.
Outside of your control
You can’t control that you are a human being. Therefore, you cannot control your race, ethnicity, society you were born into, family you were born into, that you need to eat, that you need to breathe, and you really can’t control your genetic attributes, such as height, hair type, predispositions to weight gain or weight loss, and the list goes on. Hopefully you get the gist.
For everything you cannot control . . .
You have to learn to manage. You cannot control your race or how people perceive you based upon that. The only thing you can do is manage how you conduct yourself. You cannot control the wealth of the family you were born into, but you can control how you manage your education, finances, and eventually, your career opportunities.
The same thing applies to your physical attributes. You cannot control your hair type or your predisposition to certain ailments, but you can absolutely manage what you eat, how you live, and how you take care of yourself aesthetically. Learning to manage what you cannot control is the key, but this “key” only manifests when you accept the undeniable fact that there are things outside of your control.
Indirect things you can control.
You’re walking around the grocery store looking for your apple again. For whatever reason, you find out that all the apples in your area are sold out. You cannot control what happens when you’re on the road to overcome your obstacles, but you can control how you perceive the circumstances.
Don’t let the circumstances on the road towards achieving your obstacles leave negative impressions. Every negative impression you let pierce into your being creates another obstacle you have to overcome to be positive again. Instead of responding negatively to a circumstance you have no control over, see the positives.
Finding the positive in the uncontrollable.
Do you know how many people have absolutely no way to put food on the table? World estimates show that 1 out of 7 people are undernourished, that’s over 900 million people that are hungry. Here you are, one of the lucky six in a grocery store full of food allowing negative sentiments to pierce your being over something as trivial as an apple.
The first thing you should do is acknowledge how lucky you are to even have the opportunity to overcome an obstacle.
The second thing you should do is accept that every obstacle will not be overcome, regardless of your efforts.
The third thing you should do is realize that if everyone got what he or she wanted, the peace that allows you to read this blog would never be.
Why you ask?
Because, considering that there would be multiple parties fighting for the same thing, if every obstacle could be overcome, the world would be in eternal chaos.
In another words, it’s like going to a job interview, but no one could really get the job because if one person got the job, it would counter the idea that every person’s obstacle is meant to be overcame.
A few short words . . .
Overcoming obstacles is about deleting unnecessary desires and prioritizing the ones we want to keep, while being completely content and grateful in the moments that we realize an obstacle is out of our reach.
“Live and overcome – with wisdom, not emotions.”
Brandon Yawa, over and out.