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How to Overcome Any Obstacle

I learned one of the most important lessons of my entire life recently.

You can overcome any obstacle if you let go of the story you’re believing about it.

It’s that simple…and that difficult!

The obstacles that stop you only stop you because of some fear you harbor.

A couple of years ago, my partner and I were having a heated discussion about my ambitions of being a speaker and writer.

I was excusing my lack of results and he said, “Maybe you’re afraid of failure…or success.”

Immediately my mind revolted. I’m not afraid, I thought.

I was lying to myself and until I was able to overcome the story, I was shackled by it.

When you throw off the drama of your story, you release the limitations of the story.

So how do you overcome any obstacle?

How I Overcame My Despair

Years ago, I went through an awful breakup.  It was one of those that sticks with you for months.  The cloud of depression hunkered down on top of me and wouldn’t break.

At one point, I thought I wouldn’t be able to go on.  It was awful.

The defining moment came when I recognized that I had been telling a debilitating story.

It was called Victimhood.  It’s a short story. It essentially says, “He/She hurt me. I’ve been victimized, because he/she did this to me.”

How to Overcome Any Obstacle

1. Recognize Your Story
Look for signals like “I can’t because…” or “I would if…”

Any excuse you make for why you’re not overcoming your obstacle is a red flag to tell you that you’re buying into a story.

Once I recognized the story, I realized that it wasn’t true, number one.  And number two, I recognized that I could change it.

2. Tell The Truth About Your Story
Once you recognize the story, it’s time to start telling the truth–to yourself, first and then to others.

In my case, I started to tell a  new story. I had put a lot of expectations on the broken relationship.  I was trying to make the other person the one.  It wasn’t meant to be, and ultimately the relationship crumbled under the pressure of these heavy expectations.

When I started telling this story, I was filled with compassion–first for myself. I forgave myself for the insecurity that caused me to pressure another person into trying to be something he was not.

After I forgave myself, I was able to extend grace to the other person and realize I had no need to forgive him in the first place.  The healing was instantaneous.

Grace and compassion flowed, unforced and uncoerced.  I was free from the pain of my story.

How ‘Bout You?

What story are you clinging to? What is the obstacle you can’t seem to overcome? What is the excuse that you tell yourself (and others)?  Let’s help each other heal!

About Steve

Hi, I'm Steve Rice and my goal is to transform simple philosophical truths into practical fuel to revolutionize your life. It's not about self-help, it's about self-reliance. I show you how. Connect with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and let me know how I can help you.

  • Michael Roberts

    It’s amazing how much of a difference our words make — even when we are only telling those words to ourselves.

    Choosing to focus on strength instead of weakness seems like such a simple concept, but it can be tough to keep it in mind from day to day. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Hi, Michael!

      You’re right…the words we speak have such power…especially the ones we say to ourselves.

      Even when we know the truth–that what we focus on expands–it’s tough, as you point out, to stay focused in a positive direction. Appreciate your thoughts and glad that it connected with you.

  • “I was trying to make the other person the one.” This is the pivotal line for me in this post. Great post!

    • Hi there, Caroll. Thanks for stopping by. So glad to have connected with you on twitter and FB and now through the site.

      Glad that line stuck out to you. Have you experienced this in your own history or seen it played out with others? Those “the one” and “happily ever after” labels are so heavy to bear.

      A powerful realization I came to was through Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-seller Eat, Pray, Love. In it she states that she refused to ever again use another person as her emotional scratching post.

      This was such a powerful image to me, that it transformed my thinking when it comes to the ethics of relationship and family.

      Would love to hear a bit more about why this concept was so pivotal for you as you read the post. I’m always curious to see what other people get from the posts I write…because I write from my own life, but everyone’s got their own experience and perspective that makes it fascinating.

  • People often miss these telltale signs of being the victim to the obstacle standing between them and their freedom, Steve. Yet, you did a wonderful job laying out a perfect exit from being a victim any longer. Much of what we tend to carry around with us would be demolished if we would just free ourselves by forgiving ourselves from what we believe we’ve done wrong in the first place. Once we paint a new picture and replace it with the old one, we will find our liberation from what’s keeping us from moving forward. Awesome revelation, my friend. Thank you for being so transparent and sharing your story with us. I have come to believe that when we share our story it will bring healing for others to share theirs. 🙂

    • Thanks for the encouraging words, D. You’re right about self-forgiveness. That’s hard to do–at least it was for me because I was so focused on the myth of what someone else had *done* to me that I missed where I had disrespected the other person’s “self-ness” and tried to manipulate him in relationship. When I saw where I had crossed the line, I found that forgiveness of his perceived wrongs was largely unnecessary.