Overcoming Your Obstacles

October 11, 2015

Life is a journey. This metaphor has always been used to describe it, both in literature and in psychology. And we all know it’s not exactly a straight and easy one: there are ups, downs, and many obstacles to overcome. However, we have to keep moving forward.

The problem arises when we drift from our path, not to take a detour, but to go into a dead end. It happens without us even noticing. We think it’s a shortcut, another way of taking our journey, and suddenly we hit a wall.

And sometimes we just stay at the end of that street, looking straight at that wall, not understanding why there’s no way out. Or we stay waiting for a door to magically open. We suffer for not being able to keep moving forward, but we don’t turn back. Instead we keep pounding on that wall, sad and desperate.

Success in life isn’t measured by what you achieve, but by the obstacles you overcome

Let’s step out of the metaphor and into our daily life. There are situations and people that don’t take us anywhere. They leave us in that dead end. Relationships and friendships that don’t do us any good and aren’t going anywhere, yet we hold on to them desperately. Projects or jobs that worry us, that don’t provide us with anything. Yet, we can’t seem to quit them.

When you find yourself in a situation that could harm or make you unhappy, you must stop and think: am I overcoming an obstacle or am I paralyzed at a dead end? If it’s the former, you have to keep fighting. But if it’s the latter, it’s crucial that you take notice so you can let go of everything that’s keeping you from moving forward.

In the metaphor, it’s all about taking a deep breath, turning around, and leaving that dead end. Without looking back at the wall you’ve left behind. Getting back on the main road, with its steep slopes, detours and stones to trip on... but at the end of the day, with its advances and with all its future opportunities and possibilities.

But in real life, it’s all about getting away from situations or people that paralyze us and doing something good for ourselves. We think that letting go is painful. We think we won’t be capable. We replay what could go wrong over and over again in our heads.


But it’s not true. What hurts is to cling to something and be afraid to change things. The anxiety of facing the unknown. Deep down, the wall that keeps us from moving forward is something familiar and known, and we’re scared to face something else. Let’s be brave. Let’s come clean and look for the walls in our lives.

Maybe our wall is a partner or an ex-partner. Maybe it’s a friendship, a family member or a coworker. Maybe it’s a job we didn’t turn down or a career we thought was the right one, but which didn’t answer our true calling. It might even be a hobby we hate but strive to do to please someone.

Crashing into these walls over and over doesn’t make us strong. It makes us anxious, frustrated, grumpy and sad. And what’s worse, it fills us with hopelessness and complacency. With that feeling of “there’s nothing I can do” or “I’ll never get out of here.”

Let’s turn our back on those walls. Without feeling guilty for leaving behind toxic people, unfulfilling jobs and things we hate to do. Fearless against the unknown and what’s to come. Let’s get back on our path and move towards what we want to accomplish and who we want to be. Without a doubt, a fascinating journey awaits us.