Tuesday, 22 September 2009

How to Turn Obstacles Into Opportunities

Article by Christopher Howard:
In modeling extraordinary men and women throughout time, one thing I have discovered is that they aren’t really extraordinary at all—they are simply ordinary people who made extraordinary decisions about the events in their lives.

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When Nelson Mandela was in his teens, he attended a tribal ceremony. A tribal elder stood up and said, “These are our young men. They are our future. But the truth is…They are second-class citizens…They will always be boys.” When Mandela heard this, he made a decision to change South Africa. That one decision changed the world forever. When Richard Branson was labeled dyslexic, he decided the impairment would make him more intuitive in business.

What sets world leaders apart is their decision to turn obstacles into opportunities. One person could grow up in poverty and decide that means they could never be President of the United States. While another in that same circumstance or worse decides that it is the very reason they should become President. The first sees their circumstance as a stumbling block that creates an impossibility. The second uses their “obstacle” as a way to relate to people that gains them popularity, and eventually the Presidency. Same circumstance…completely different outcome. The only differing factor was what they decided that something meant.

Say that you are walking down a path and come upon a huge boulder blocking your path. What would you do? Too many people choose to turn back then use that as their excuse for not being able to live the life they want. It’s those rare few who make the decision to learn how to rock climb. Those are the mega-successful who not only surmount the obstacle in front of them, but in so doing gain the skill and confidence to then climb any mountain they want to.

What are you seeing as an obstacle in your life right now?Make a list of all those things you feel are stopping you from fulfilling your financial, health and/or relationship goals.
Now imagine for 5-10 minutes there is no such thing as an “obstacle”…how could each one of these obstacles actually be a great opportunity?

If memories are the cement that perpetuates beliefs, then decisions are the cornerstones of belief. They act as the line in the sand from which you will make future choices. I had a woman in one of my seminars who had made a decision at an early age that “it’s a man’s world.” Because she was a woman and obviously couldn’t do anything about this “obstacle,” she had a lot of difficulty achieving what she set out to do. It wasn’t until she became aware of the unconscious decision and realized she had made it only as real as she believed it to be, that she chose a different way of seeing things and her business expanded.

So it is essential to figure out:
What decisions did you make in your past?
Do those decisions serve your goals or work against them?
What are you deciding about the events going on in your life now?

The bottom line is, it is not the events in your life that shape your destiny, but the decisions you make about those events. So often we put world leaders on a pedestal as if they possess some rare and elusive power that we were not born with. Power is simply the ability to create real results. Becoming conscious of the decisions you make on a day-to-day basis, and consciously and carefully choosing your responses or reactions to those circumstances gives you that power.

Even if you only pay attention to what decisions you choose on a daily basis, this aspect of personality alone can make all the difference in causing you to be unstoppable. This alone places you firmly on that pedestal with the elite achievers. Circumstance no longer has the opportunity to be an excuse. You have successfully allowed “obstacles” to disappear from your life.

Originally Posted: Feb 9, 2006 at 2:56 PM

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