Looking in more detail at the five steps to handling obstacles – Accept, Embrace, Ignore, Overcome, Use – let’s begin here with the first step and explore some thoughts around the idea of accepting.
According to the American psychologist and philosopher William James: “Acceptance of what has happened is the first step to overcoming the consequences of any misfortune.”
For me accepting doesn’t mean we have to like what has happened or is occurring at this moment. Certainly if we are talking about obstacles interrupting our path towards reaching goals, it is most probable we will find such things annoying at best with little to like about them.
However, at times such issues need to be dealt with. Not always does everything go according to our plans. In all probability, the more other people are involved in our plans the more likely it will be tricky for us to have everything sailing smoothly at all times.
Yet it’s doubtful by denying their existence, perhaps hoping things aren’t as they are, we will be able to just resume our march. Things happen; fortunately we can choose how we deal with them.
Sometimes we might get lost in the pain of the moment, disappointed in having been knocked off course. Wailing and whining might make us feel good for five minutes, but, unless we decide to abandon our objective, we will have to eventually engage the obstacle.
Whilst being difficult, accepting without judging can help us put the obstacle concerned into a more manageable perspective. As the Buddha said “What is, is.” This is valid also for when we are faced with obstacles any of us may encounter from time to time as we pursue our goals.
Taking a few moments to quietly breathe in the moment can be useful for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the pause gives us time to get our bearings in the new reality. Secondly, we avoid rushing into any actions which might turn out to cause us further damage later on.
With acceptance of the obstacle comes a certain clarity regarding our new situation. From this starting point the second step in handling the obstacle can be taken.
Next time I’ll be focusing on the second step: embracing the obstacle as a potential nugget of learning. For now, thanks for reading this today.