No matter what we may be going through, we all wish to enjoy success. However, there will always be obstacles in the way that will try to hinder our success. We can either give in to these obstacles or we can show character and take them head-on.
At first glance, it may seem all our obstacles are due to factors outside our control and so we tend to externalize them. However, a lot of these limitations come from within. It is just that we don’t realize this. They are usually beliefs or memories from our past experiences that prevent us to take the challenges ahead of us. We often sabotage ourselves in this manner.
However, just like any other challenge, all it takes is preparation to overcome your obstacles. Here are some of the ways you can turn a mountain into a molehill.
The need to be perfect is among the common obstacles that come in the way of success. There is a saying “done is better than good.” Although you would ideally like to get the job done well, if it takes a lot of time to do it perfectly, it is better to spend less time and get the work done even if it turns out to be a little imperfect. Very often seeking perfection is just another way of saying “I don’t want to do this.”
Perfection kills vitality, creativity, and unintentional discoveries. The world is replete with examples where improvisation has led to discoveries and inventions that are used to great effect. About 10 years back, the US military needed a supercomputer but did not want to spend the millions of dollars it usually costs to buy such equipment. So they came up with an ingenious solution. They used close to 2000 Sony PlayStation 3s, which cost a fraction of the price of a typical supercomputer. These gaming consoles have some seriously impressive processing power, so when they hooked all of them together, their combined processing power turned out to match those of supercomputers. This improvisation saved millions of tax dollars and was probably only possible because the team members behind the project were not perfectionists. A perfectionist would have thought “How can a supercomputer be substituted by a bunch of gaming consoles?” and would never be able to come up with such a fantastic solution.
Perfectionism also kills the opportunity to learn from our mistakes. Because perfectionists want an ideal environment to do things, they will never expose themselves to making mistakes. And if you don’t make mistakes, you will never learn.
In the Dark knight Rises, when Bane throws Bruce Wayne / Batman into the pit, Bruce makes multiple attempts to escape. However, all his attempts turn out to be unsuccessful until he makes the climb without the rope. The problem with Bruce Wayne was his fear of falling to his death if he did not use a rope. Once he realized his fear was holding him back, he ditched the rope and was then able to successfully escape from the pit.
Fear kills imagination and the quest to try new things. We were talking about perfectionism earlier. It can also be said that perfectionists fail to try new things (and then miss opportunities for success) because they fear doing them imperfectly.
Our fears get triggered by concerns about our safety and security. It is sometimes alright to have such fears about situations where we might put our physical safety at risk. For example, taking a higher paying job in a politically unstable foreign country, especially if you are from a non-military background or you only have experience of working in non-volatile safe locations. So unless your physical security is at risk, do not allow your fears to miss opportunities for career growth or other kinds of success.
The road to success is not an easy one to take. You will invariably face many obstacles as you go along this road. The key is in learning how to cope with these obstacles. Very often it is our fear that holds us back in life and forces us to remain unsuccessful.
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