If success were easy, we’d all be where we want to be in life. We would have the best job, the perfect husband or wife, and of course we would be rich beyond our wildest dreams (that is if you measure success with money). Unfortunately, life likes to throw us curveballs, instead of 90 mile an hour heaters down the middle of the plate. What’s more, many of us aren’t equipped with the right strategies or tools for overcoming obstacles.

“If you’re trying to achieve there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it. Go through it, or work around it.”

~ Michael Jordan

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Obstacles Quote by Michael JordanBack in the day, I was a descent baseball player. One roadblock to my success, however, was in fact those dang curveballs. I couldn’t hit them to save my life. The reason for this was that I wasn’t a patient hitter. And when it came to overcoming obstacles like hitting a breaking ball, I didn’t have the tools needed. In life, like baseball, I like to go up to bat, swinging for the fences. The key to hitting curveballs, however, is patience. Baseball experts often say that hitters need to sit on the curveball in order to hit it successfully. Sitting on a curveball though requires patience. Why? Because a curveball comes at the batter deceptively slow, then without warning is curves downward toward the plate, often leaving batters swinging early, over the top of the ball.

In order to hit a good breaking ball, a batter needs to wait to hit the ball right after it curves downward toward the plate. If a batter does, he’s likely to get a hit or even a home run. That’s why great batters in Major League Baseball know how to hit the curveball. And usually, when they do, they often hit this pitch for towering 450 foot home runs. Talk about overcoming obstacles.

The curveball analogy is akin to obstacles that every person faces in life. After all, it’s human nature to be impatient, wanting success immediately. To make matters worse, we live in a word of instant gratification. We can download music, movies, and games instantaneously. We can pull up to a drive through window and in minutes get our evening meal. Unfortunately, success hasn’t caught on to the trend. No. She’s old-fashioned, and likes to take her time. Consequently, we have forgotten the tools needed for overcoming obstacles.

In today’s society, overcoming obstacles is something that we have not been trained to do. As a result, we often throw our hands up into the air or delve into depths of depression when curveballs are thrown our way. With the right tools, however, an individual can overcome any obstacle he or she faces in life. With that, here are 5 strategies for overcoming obstacles

5 Strategies for Overcoming Obstacles

1. Be positive. Of course, this is cliché. When the tough gets going and the going gets tough, everyone always says be positive. Despite this overused tidbit of advice, being positive actually works. Research has even shown that people with positive attitudes are better able to deal with adversity. Rather than looking at a problem with gloom and doom, look at it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

2. Understand the problem. Before you can solve a problem, you must first understand it. Just like the Major League hitter. He understands how a curveball works. Therefore, he knows how to attack it. This is true with any obstacle we face. Overcoming obstacles will be much easier the better we comprehend what we are facing.

3. Be open-minded. The way you handled problems in the past may not be the best solutions for overcoming obstacles. As the old adage goes, “If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything becomes a nail.” Unfortunately, a hammer is useless when it comes to mowing the lawn. Consequently, you will have to be open-minded for new solutions to the problem or problems you’re facing. Just remember to be open to all possibilities.

4. Take one step at a time. Would you eat an entire pizza in one sitting? No, you wouldn’t. You’d eat it one slice at a time. (Granted, if you’re like me, you’d still end up eating the entire thing in one sitting). Similarly, some problems are just too big to eat. One way to solve large or complex problems is solve a piece of the puzzle at a time. For instance, let’s say your obstacle is weight. So you set a weight-loss goal to lose 20 pounds in four months. What’s important to keep in mind is that you’re not going to lose all of that weight in one week, let alone in one month. Therefore, you need to take it one week at a time, maybe even one-day at a time. Break that 20 pound weight loss goal into smaller chunks – maybe down to 1 pound per week. If you focus on these small, incremental goals, then the overall goal doesn’t seem so daunting.

5. Keep the end in mind. Even though focusing on the small objectives within the overall goal will lead to success, it is still important to keep visualizing the solution or end goal. Mastering small objectives are like reaching checkpoints on a map. Before you know it, you’ve arrived at your destination.

In summary, obstacles lead many to give up before they have even tried. It’s not that we can’t or are not capable of overcoming obstacles. It’s simply a matter of what we have in our toolbox and how we use those tools to help us succeed. As Michael Jordan states, if you face an obstacle, find a way around it. If your first try is unsuccessful, then try a different tool and find a another way around, over, or through it.