Overcoming Obstacles Is Overrated
One thing you won’t find at this blog: a tips piece or how-to tutorial on “overcoming obstacles.”
Because obstacles are our friend.
They let us know when we’re misaligned to what we want; they tell us when we’re headed the wrong way.
Obstacles steer us away from unhappy outcomes and toward what we prefer.
Which is why overcoming obstacles is overrated.
Abandoning the upstream journey is where the magic is.
That’s what savvy creators practice: they notice where things aren’t easy and they choose in favor of relief.
That’s why I’m officially reminding you that it’s not only okay to give up, but it’s often smart to.
When the going gets rough, the savvy take a breather.
“Give up early and often,” says the Communion of Light.
Sounds like work for wimps, right? But it actually takes insight and courage to pull this one off.
Here’s why …
These are four common obstacles that keep us from following what feels better (and what to do about them):
1. Not realizing we do it.
For many it’s so habitual to try hard and experience struggle along the way that it’s the norm. We don’t even question it. It’s just a way of life.
It’s what we’re used to.
The first step is noticing when we’re doing it, so we can make a conscious choice about how to proceed.
That’s what our emotional guidance system is for, as Abe would say. When you’re not feeling fabulous, when you notice exhaustion or overwhelm settling in, that’s your cue to take note.
Awareness is the first step.
But once we’re clued in to the routine, we frequently run into another challenge in dropping the struggle:
2. Concern what others think.
Sometimes even when we know we’re taking the upstream journey (working hard, efforting, struggling our way there), we continue because of the anticipated backlash or judgment from others.
Bosses just want the job done; they don’t care whether you like it or not. Spouses want the bills paid whether you feel like it or not. Parents want you to finish that degree whether you are in the mood or not.
This one can take some practice to get good at caring less what others think and giving more weight to your own inner guidance.
But the payoffs are well worth it – happiness, satisfaction, joy and ease. Again, when you care less about the opinions of others.
As long as it matters to you what they think, you’ve got a significant vibrational handicap in place.
3. Judging ourselves as wimpy.
In a culture that celebrates hard work and considers self-sacrifice a virtue, it can be easy to feel like a jerk for not working your butt off.
In fact, you might have noticed that sometimes we internalize other opinions so strongly that we hear it in the voice of our own inner gremlins.
In which case it’s self-judgment we’re dealing with.
We think negative things about our inability to just buckle up and get it done, and we might even berate ourselves for wimping out when we consider letting go of the struggle.
The remedy here is to simply remember that like attracts like and that unhappy journeys don’t have happy endings.
Once we embrace how the system works, we’re much better positioned to work it effectively.
4. Worry about negative consequences.
Often, even though we know that we get what we vibrate, we have trouble trusting that it’ll be okay to let go of the struggle.
I would say these are unfounded fears, but since we create whatever we focus on, you can manifest trouble if you hang on to these types of thoughts long enough.
But why would you do that, you savvy creator, you?
Here’s what saves me whenever I start worrying what will happen if I don’t tough it out through the thing that seems like it has to be done:
“Nothing is more important than that I feel good.”
That sentence from Wayne Dyer (quoting Abraham) serves as my magic mantra to break the evil spell of believing I have to do something unpleasant in order to get where I want.
I kept it as a sticky note in the most prominent position in my office for many years, until it became automatic to turn downstream.
And sometimes the thing that spoils my good time is just my contrary belief about it.
Like when I thought podcasting was hard, so I wasn’t willing to do it. Until a reader said it could be as easy as just reading blog posts. (Seriously? I can do that!)
Or when I got so nervous to start dating again that I thought it’d just be easier to skip it, because I was telling myself stories about what might go wrong. Remove the unhelpful stories and voila – a good time is restored!
It can also be helpful to remember that there’s no way to enjoy the “fruits” of struggle if you’re exhausted, overwhelmed, unhappy or soul-broken when you get there.
It really is okay to release what’s not working in favor of whatever feels better.
The more you practice it, the easier it is to trust.
In fact, right now, just for fun, maybe you can find something in your day that wasn’t feeling easy or enjoyable, and you can opt out in favor of something that is easier to enjoy.
I shared personal examples on the podcast, but I’d love to hear your tips for getting better at embracing ease and enjoyment in your daily life choices …