"Obstacles do not block the path. They are the path."
- Zen Proverb
When we encounter challenges in life, we are faced with the duty of rising to the task and doing our best to meet and overcome anything preventing us from achieving whatever it is we have set out to accomplish. Raising a family. Starting a business. Switching careers. Our plans rarely match how reality plays out. It's not a matter of whether there will be setbacks and roadblocks along the way. It's a matter of how willing and prepared we are to face and overcome those obstacles.
Roadblocks can be looked at as a challenge we accept or decline. Ignoring the situation is the same as not accepting the challenge, and can even make matters worse. I'm thinking of sluggish sales numbers or a rocky marriage. If we instead choose to tackle the matter head on, we can work toward resolving the issue, even if that means closing the business or ending the marriage. I know those seem like extreme resolutions, but sometimes the obstacle may be blocking that path for a reason. It may or may not be the right path to keep pursuing, but we won't know until we address the problem.
Obstacles present opportunities for personal growth. If something is not working out the way we planned it, or preventing us from moving forward, it is on us to do something about it. I will sometimes ask myself, "How bad do I want this?" If there is something preventing me from achieving what I set out to do, and I want it bad enough, I must put in the required effort to attain my goal. If I do not put in the effort, I must not want it bad enough. Clearly, in personal and professional relationships, it requires being on the same page with others. The issues must be addressed in order to move on, together or apart.
Sometimes it can be difficult to address the elephant in the room, especially when we realize ignoring it will not make it go away. It's preventing us from moving on and making progress in our personal and professional pursuits. Until we address the obstacles that hold us back, they become nagging issues that can disturb our mental health and wellbeing. It can be tough, even if it's something personal that we have the ability to handle on our own. Developing more self-awareness through mindfulness and meditation can be helpful. Once we address the obstacles, overcoming them can seem less dreadful and more hopeful.