This blog post is a follow-up to a previous post I wrote called What is the biggest obstacle you are facing right now?
I want to start off with a quote that sums up this entire blog post:
“Real obstacles don’t take you in circles. They can be overcome. Invented ones are like a maze.” – Barbara Sher
When I asked the question “What is the biggest obstacle you are facing right now?” Not one of my blog readers said that their biggest obstacle was life threatening. No one said, “I’m dying of a deadly disease” or “I’m starving with no access to food” No one was being chased by a tiger or was caught in a natural disaster without any sign of hope. Everyone said things that exist only because they were agreed upon by society. Credit card debt, self-doubt, getting paid for meaningful work, & developing self-mastery. How did these things come into existence?
Let’s look at money. Money isn’t real in my opinion, it’s an agreement. We all agreed that something (a piece of paper) is worth something & we act according to that agreement. This is something we all created & agreed upon. We made it real. The same goes for the other things mentioned. We all created them & we all gave them significance.
The answers I received from my readers fit into four categories:
1) Paying off debt
2) Overcoming fear & self-doubt
3) Doing what I love & getting paid for it
4) Being more disciplined
Although there are four categories listed, I believe they all stem from just one: Overcoming fear & self-doubt.
If I use myself as an example I can honestly say that all of the categories are a challenge for me. They all feel like a huge obstacle. But all of them can be dealt with easily if my mind wasn’t conditioned. Society & culture, we ourselves have created this conditioning & this environment. The environment has created a habit in us & that habit has created a problem. This can be changed if we view it differently & choose to create a new reality.
Paying off debt – I can file for bankruptcy if my debt was too much to bear. But then the fear creeps in of “What will people think of me?” or “What if I need credit for something?”
Doing what I love & getting paid for it– I can focus on what I love & try a few of my ideas out to see which ones create the biggest response. But then the fear creeps in of “What if I invest lots of money & time in trying something new & it doesn’t work out?” or “What if people don’t respond to my new business idea & it fails?”
If we look at a problem or obstacle what follows are the ‘what ifs’. The ‘what ifs’ always seem to have the last word. The ‘what ifs’ are the real problem. And they don’t even exist!
I will share with you four ways to view your biggest obstacle. These are empowering big-picture views. Views that can literally make your obstacle shrink or feel weightless. Your problem will no longer look like something blocking you, some heavy burden preventing you from moving forward. It’ll appear as it is, an illusion.
View #1: ‘What if’ is the problem.
‘What ifs’ seem to be the culprit behind most problems & fears. ‘What ifs’ are nothing but unnecessary suffering. People hardly ever have positive ‘what ifs’ They always seem to be negative. Another thing about ‘what ifs’ is that they are always future based. (Which means they don’t exist.)
“What are you worried about the future for, you can’t even be in the present.” – Ramana Maharshi
“The best preparation for the future is fully being in the present.” – Ram Dass
Get real with yourself next time a disempowering ‘what if’ comes up for you. Is it a factor or threat at this time? Are you OK right now? Do you have all you need for this moment? Let it go & focus on the moment & on the things that really matter. Throw your ‘what ifs’ in the backseat & keep driving. You can take them along, but don’t let them drive you around. You’ll never get anywhere!
View #2: The answer to a problem is in it.
Let’s use credit debt as an example. Maybe the solution isn’t getting an additional job to pay it off, or borrowing money from a family member to lower the debt. Maybe you can call the credit companies & negotiate a reduction. Or maybe you can file for bankruptcy (who cares what people think!). What I’m saying is, don’t look for solutions outside of the problem, work within it. Better yet, use it!
“In Judo the punch of someone else becomes the energy you work with to defeat them. You work with the energy that comes at you, by moving with it rather than going against it.” – Ram Dass
I know this might sound really silly & insignificant, but last night I had a problem. The pillow that I like to sit on as I work on my laptop felt too low, too flat & it was hurting my back to sit that low & write. (My laptop sits on a small black wooden table.) All I had was this pillow like cushion & a piece of fabric that I was placing on top of it. I was annoyed at the time that those two things were all I had to work with (I don’t like sitting on chairs if I can help it). But then an idea popped in my mind! Why don’t I tightly roll the pillow & wrap it in place with the fabric. Sort of like a burrito. This was the perfect answer! This cushion was now the perfect size & height, it was also nice & firm. A perfect match for my wooden little work table. My back felt fantastic & I could write on my laptop freely! – The answer was in the problem.
View #3: The way out of it is through it.
Imagine a thick fog in front of you. It’s so dense that you can’t see clearly. All you can make out is a blurry vision of something. The best you can do is guess at what it might be. The way out of this fog is to go through it. It is the only way.
The thing that you think is holding you back, or setting you back, or in the way of where you want to go really isn’t there. It’s just a conditioning of the mind that can be changed. If you can just see through it, as well as work your way through it, you would be on the other side.
My knee is a great example. I was in a car cash in 1997. My left knee was operated on after the accident. If I don’t exercise regularly I get knee pain. It may seem counter intuitive to think “My knee hurts when I move it, maybe I should be moving it more” But that is the solution! I had to work through the pain to become painless. Now that I exercise consistently I never have problems with my knee.
Don’t be afraid to dive right in & work through the problem. You can’t work it out by avoiding it. And sometimes the problem will appear bigger before it can disappear. Just work through it & know that you will make it through to the other side.
View #4: Action is the opposite of worry.
This is actually the solution I use the most for my problems. If something is bothering me, I have to do something about it. Either actively let it go or physically address it. It may not mean I solve it in one swoop, but it may mean I take a bite out of it. I show it who’s boss so to speak. I am no longer paralyzed by it & it no longer seems bigger than me. I am chipping away at it. Things are moving!
“I never worry about action, but only about inaction.” – Winston Churchill
“We don’t have a problem, we need a plan.” – Timothy Leary
When I heard someone say that Timothy Leary quote I thought, “Yes! My problem is not the problem, I just need to see it another way!” This kind of thinking is nothing but awareness. It’s a higher level of awareness. It’s big picture thinking.
I hope these views are in some way helpful to you. Just by sharing them I feel lighter. So I’m grateful for the opportunity to post them & discuss them.
I started this post by saying that one quote sums it up. I will end this post with two quotes that wrap it up:
“Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” – Albert Einstein
“The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.” – Lao Tzu
Use your problem as an opportunity to see how your mind thinks. Then rise above this current way of thinking & create something new. Hurrah!