Obstacles are one of those things we all encounter at some point in our lives whether we like it or not. Although we may feel we need to throw up our defenses and prepare the battle stations, is there another way to handle obstacles?

Could we turn obstacles into opportunities for growth and expansion? Our perception of the situation is the key. If we could accept that whatever the universe unfolds is designed for us rather than against us, we might take a more optimistic  view of life. We could see each obstacle as an opportunity presented for our overall well being, perhaps even a pre-arranged life lesson. We might also see how overcoming an obstacle can be very fulfilling, giving us a sense of accomplishment. Navigating bumps in the road can help us realize our potential and learn to overcome setbacks.

You may be familiar with a song: “You can’t always get what you want… but if you try some time, you just might find you get what you need.” We may think we want one thing but in reality we may need something else. How can we know joy or happiness, gratitude and appreciation if we haven’t experienced unhappiness, disappointment or a little humility? As challenging as it may be at times, haven’t we really come to experience all aspects of life, not just one side of it? In the simple but meaningful story of Pollyanna, she interpreted everything with an upside to it. She found something to be glad about in everything – the seed of opportunity.

Here are some hints on how we can find that seed and learn to cultivate it when faced with an obstacle:

  • Change the energy. Go for a walk and step away from the turmoil. Later, come back to the situation and be guided by the still small voice or your gut feeling to find insights or solutions.

  • Resisting what is happening can cause more suffering than the situation itself. Instead of blaming the obstacle, find the seed of opportunity, the good thing that might be in whatever you are experiencing.
  • Avoid worrying about the past or the future and deal only with the present moment, with whatever is within your control, such as your own thoughts and response to the situation.

Above all, keep in mind that the outcome of the experience does not define who you are. It’s just an experience, so add it to your “resume of life experiences”.

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