Imagine that you are on a journey and the route to your destination is blocked by a huge, intimidating brick wall.
What do you do?
You could go and get yourself a ladder or some climbing equipment and clamber over the wall. You could get a shovel and dig a tunnel under the wall. You could take a diversion and walk around the wall. You could, perhaps, get a sledgehammer and bash a hole through the wall.
The point is there are many different solutions to the problem.
Unfortunately, when faced with real life obstacles, we are often stuck in our ways and we constantly repeat the same actions over and over again even though those actions don’t actually help us overcome the problem.
It is like constantly hitting our heads against that brick wall in the hope in gives way before our head does!
Sometimes (as the headache gets worse!) rational thought disappears and we start to hate the wall, we blame the wall for getting in our way. We curse the builder of the wall, without thinking that, perhaps, there was a reason for the wall being put there in the first place. No, we think, the builder deliberately put the wall there to thwart our journey, it is a blatant attack to stop us moving onward with our lives.
Our righteous indignation makes us more determined to keep hitting our head against the wall because we believe the harder our head hits, the more likely we are to succeed!
The reality, though, is we start feeling worse. In the real world that frustration turns to despair, and has a serious impact on our mental health. The more we pointlessly hit the wall, the more our self-confidence and self-belief becomes eroded and we end up just slumped against the wall, unable to move in any direction.
To avoid this happening to us we need to develop flexibility in our thinking.
If you come up against an obstacle and your initial way to overcome it fails, step back quickly, before that righteous indignation sets in and think of the alternative ways that you could use to move forward.
Take time to think of different actions, and the possible consequences of those actions. Weigh up all the possibilities before picking the best alternatives for you.
If we go back to our imaginary wall, climbing over the top may not be the best option if you are afraid of heights, tunnelling underneath may not be the best option if you get claustrophobic, and hitting the wall with a sledgehammer may just bring the whole thing down on the top of your head!
It is about finding the solutions that work for you.
YOU being the most important aspect of achieving your success.
We cannot dwell on what others may or may not have done to deliberately thwart us. We cannot dwell on how others may or may not have caused our dilemma. We cannot dwell on what others may or may not have against us.
We can only focus on what we need to do to move on toward what we want in life.
That is best achieved by reflecting on our own actions, beliefs and strengths.
You could, perhaps, take time to consider why the wall is there in the first place. Imagine getting a chisel and removing just one brick and peeking through to the other side. The could be nothing but the road onwards but maybe there is a huge chasm in the road or a sabre-toothed beast prowling and the wall has been put there to protect travellers on that path!
Stepping back to consider overcoming obstacles requires deliberate, rational thought but that does not mean we need to be completely sensible!
Perhaps we could imagine building a giant catapult and throwing ourselves over our wall! Perhaps we could take a bit of time out of our journey and decorate the wall (I am not advocating becoming a graffiti artist though!).
Engaging our creativity and imagination can often lead to new, different and exciting ideas. History is full of stories where things we take for granted today were created by accident, where people tried to do one thing but realised, they had come up with something else.
The story of the post-it notes says the inventor was actually trying to develop a strong adhesive but failed, luckily, they had the ability to realise the weak solution had a use.
Viagra was initially a failed heat drug, it was the reported side-effects that led scientists to realising they had stumbled on to something else that could be developed, they could easily have just dismissed the trials as a failure.
Creative, imaginative thinking can lead us on new paths which allows us to avoid the wall altogether.
It is not the walls in our lives that are the obstacles, it is our reaction to them. By developing better flexible and creative thinking the walls will come down or simply become irrelevant.
Flex your thinking muscles and the paths onward will soon materialise.