September 20 – Challenges and obstacles

September 20. “Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.” (Sydney Smith)

Obstacles are a reality of anything worth doing in life. If what you are trying to do requires effort, then there are inevitably going to be obstacles along the way. In this quote, Smith is implying that we only really see these obstacles when we lose sight of our goals.

As long as my laser focus is on the goal, as long as I am fixated on attaining the goal, then there aren’t obstacles, there are just steps to complete along the way toward reaching the goal. It isn’t that there aren’t challenges, it is all about how I see them. If I see something as an obstacle, then that’s how I will react. I will react by trying to butt against it, or by crying about my difficulties. But, if my focus is on the goal, then I will see the challenges as just that, challenges. They become nothing more than just things that need to be solved along the way to the goal.

The key is to define what is an obstacle, versus what is just something that needs to be done. An obstacle is something that stops my progress. But the challenges are only obstacles if I choose to let them become so. If, instead, I decide that they are nothing more than tasks that need to be accomplished, then that’s what they will be for me.

What it all comes down to is perception, and that perception is governed by my outlook, and focus on the goal.

Today, on this rainy day at camp, when the skies are rumbling thunder, I can either see the weather as an obstacle to fun, or I can see it as just something to deal with. I know from experience that some of the best times I have had at camp have included dealing with rain.

My reflection right now is on my outlook. How is my attitude about the challenges in my life? Are they merely tasks on the plan? Or, am I allowing them to be obstacles to what I want in life?

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