Obstacles Are Really Opportunities

Everyone experience's obstacles. Let me repeat that again. Everyone experiences obstacles. There is no such thing as a life without problems. People seem to think that they need to strive for a point where problems cease to exist. No matter who it is, how rich they are, what they do for a living, and what they believe, life has problems. It is only through this realization that one is able to surmount them.

Why is this? Problems are really opportunities in disguise. Life has a way of teaching us lessons that make us stronger going forward. There is an adage that applies: no pain, no gain. Growth is only a result of moving out of our comfort zone and expanding our circle of capability. Without that expansion, growth ceases to exist.

Thomas Edison "failed" over 10,000 times in his quest to discover the electric light bulb. When asked how he felt about this he simply replied that he found 9,999 ways not to create a light bulb. What an outlook. He did not allow the present outcomes to alter his goal. He simply persisted and used the knowledge from each failure to move forward.

In sales, there is a basic lesson learned when training new people. When one is in this field, rejection is a part of the experience. No salesperson ever existed who was not told "no" on numerous occasions. Therefore, to be successful, one needs the ability to maintain a positive outlook throughout this process. Thus, when training, salespeople are taught that every "no" brings them one step closer to a "yes". In fact, to take it one step further, salespeople are trained to break down the number of rejections received before making a sale. If for example, a person receives 20 turn downs before making a sale and each sale nets $400, then each no is worth $20. Ergo, each rejection is really an opportunity to put $20 in his/her pocket.

As you can see, dealing with obstacles is all how you view things. If you think yourself one as "cursed" or "unlucky", then you are instantly taking a position of the victim. Those who overcome realize that problems are just a fact of life and the present situation is an opportunity to grow. In other words, you will be stronger once you get through the situation.

In conclusion, consider how you view problems. This outlook might be at the core of what is holding you back. Those who are successful know that problems are just temporary in nature. They are not permanent. Most situations will be overcome in due time. Resist the temptation to look into the future thinking that you will be problem-free. It is a fantasy. 20 years from now, you won't be dealing with the problems you have now. However, at that time, you will have other problems. So, adjust your thinking to obstacles. They are meant to be overcome and make you stronger. Therefore, try to get all you can out of each problem you are facing. It will improve your life substantially.
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The Desire To Improve

Have you ever thought about what it takes to change? What is it that makes one change successful while another is a miserable failure? How can some people lose 100+ pounds while others cannot get even 20 pounds off? The answer is that it all starts with desire.

12 Step Programs

12 Step programs all across the nature understand this concept. Whether one is talking about addiction to alcohol, drugs, sex, food, or gambling, the effectiveness of these programs revolves around what they term "willingness". The theory is that one will only begin to recover after being yielded willing by whatever the vice is. In other words, did the person receive enough pain to have reached a "bottom".

Obviously this is a personal matter. But, if we translate it to each of us even if not an addicted person, we can see the merits. Why does one lose weight while another fails to do so? Simply, the one who succeeded had the internal desire to achieve the outcome sought. He or she was tired of being the other way. It is only after reaching this point that one can begin the process of change.

Of course, this would also explain why people start yet fail. Perhaps it is a simple as they were not ready. Again, going back to the lessons taught by our addiction therapists, many enter rehab or a 12 step program only to experience a slip backwards. Experts will say the reasoning is the person "simply was not ready to give it up". This lack of willingness led to the downfall.

Again we can bring this same analogy across to whatever behavior we want to focus upon. The only reason why change does not take root is one is attempting something before he or she is ready. There is no other reason for the failure. If this person suffered enough pain through the process of remaining the same, change would be instant. Everything would fall into place ensuring success. Sadly, few, as shown by addicts, ever get to this point.

Increase The Pain

Often the activity we are engaging upon does not have immediate negative results. Taking smoking as an example. Nobody picks up a cigarette for the first time, takes a couple of drags, and drops over dead (unless he or she has an asthma attack). However, we know that long term cigarette use has deadly effects upon the individual. The pain is not immediate but, rather, long term in nature.

Much like the frog in the boiling water, when pain is not immediate and intense, it fails to motivate. If you dont know this story, a frog will literally sit in boiling water and die if you put it in when it is cool and slowly increase the temperature. Drop the frog into water that is already boiling and it will jump out. Nevertheless, a slow increase in temperature is not even notice until it is too late. This parallels how we are as humans.

Thus, we need to increase the pain as quickly as possible. Using the smoking as an example, we know that therapists and counselors have used tactics such as showing pictures of black lung to emphasize the pain in the moment. This helps to bring the future pain to the present moment. Spending time with people who suffer from lung cancer is another "scare" tactic employed to reach the desired end.

Anything that helps one to experience more pain will assist in getting the person to make lasting change. Remember, no pain, no gain. One will not stick with something if it is easier to remain the same. This is true for all change.

Pain versus Pleasure

Which brings us to the final point. Why do we not just increase the pleasure associated with the desired outcome and use that as motivation? Simple. Because that is a failing strategy. Many people have employed that tactic without success. Of course it is easy to picture oneself nice and slim with a fantastic figure. Carrying that mental image is helpful but I would venture to say few who suffer from obesity are motivate much by that. The reason I say this is because they had that image in their head for years and look at the result. It is only after experiencing enough pain that one will take the action necessary for change.

We like to think that we do things for proactive reasons. Sadly, that does not appear to the be human condition. Most people will do a helluva lot more to avoid pain than they will to gain some pleasure. Every Monday, millions of people show up at work because they want to avoid the dreaded situation of having no money to pay their bills. Few will leave a position to pursue something that excites them and instills passion. Instead, they remain locked into a career because the pain of leaving is too difficult. Pleasure is available but pain is the motivator.

Hence, if you are faced with making a change, ramp up the pain factor tenfold. Use whatever mental/psychological tactics necessary to do this. Pain is a tremendous ally. This is what provides us with the desire to improve. Remember, lasting change only occurs after one reaches the point where changing is less painful than remaining the same. Thus, your challenge is to generate enough pain in not changing so that changing is much more attractive. Once this is accomplished, then you will see radical improvement.
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The Future Is Bright

No matter what the circumstances, it is crucial to remember the future is always bright. This is an outlook that all successful people maintain.

Zig Ziglar, the famous self help guru, tells a story when he was selling pots during his early years how he would answer the question "how are sales". Regardless of how they were, he would always reply "fabulous...sales are fabulous". Why did Zig do this? Was it because he was out of touch with reality? Certainly not. Zig knew how important it was to maintain a positive outlook. Even if things were not going so well, eventually, with this view, things did turn around. Think of it as a self fulfilling prophecy.

How does your future look? If you believe it is miserable, then that is exactly what you will get. The truth is that it takes no more energy to look at things in a positive light than it does in a negative. However, the problem most people have is that they are conditioned to look at things negatively. We become pessimists in our own minds.

The truth is there is always something to complain about. Each of us has problems in our lives. The other day I listened to someone who mentioned how, when she was working, she could not wait until she was retired. She felt that once she was retired, all her problems would disappear. Of course, we all know how inaccurate this outlook is. No matter what one's plight in life, there are always problems. Accept them as being a constant and move on.

Solutions are what is required. Nevertheless, most do not give them an opportunity to look for this because of their outlook. Consider for a second the possibility for uncovering any new actions to take when your viewpoint is that things are awful. What do you think you will be concentrating upon? The fact is that the mind will instantly shut down all possible solutions and focus solely upon how bad things are. In effect, we create a cyclical situation that only heads downward.

The future is bright. Regardless of how things are at the moment, there is always an opportunity to turn them around. But there is a recession on you say? Many millionaires were created during the Great Depression. Did you realize that the highly successful company Hewlett Packard was started in a garage during this era? Obviously, the economic environment did not lend itself to this kind of opportunity but here is a prime example where contrary thinking netted a huge windfall.

So, again, no matter what your present circumstances, always remember the future is bright. If you choose to dwell upon those things that get you down, that is your right. However, you are the one who is going to pay the price. Try looking at things in a positive context for the next 21 days. You will be amazed at how much better your life is. Circumstances first change in the head and then move towards the outer realm. If you think, then it will be.
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