Obstacles are facts of life. Throughout life, we are faced with problems we must resolve or goals we want to achieve. How we deal with expected versus unexpected obstacles is an importance factor in determining our resolve to get it done. This past weekend, I read an article in Psychology Today that provided useful insights about our approaches to expected versus unexpected obstacles.
“When we anticipate an obstacle, we can’t help but mentally cast our minds forward, envisioning how we might handle it. Often we develop possible avenues of attack, which makes the obstacles seem less daunting. Surmountable, even. But when we come up against an obstacle we didn’t anticipate and become annoyed, we become far more likely to attempt to avoid it than overcome it. Because of this, we’re more likely to be defeated by unexpected obstacles than expected obstacles, even if the expected obstacles are far more formidable than the unexpected obstacles. . . .
“The real threat unexpected obstacles pose, then, is to our attitude—and attitude is everything in sustaining one’s resolve to overcome an obstacle, large or small. Hence, the real risk of failing to achieve a goal doesn’t come from the most implacable obstacles; it comes from the least expected ones.
“The solution? Expect the unexpected. We can’t, of course, predict the specific nature of unexpected obstacles but we can predict the fact we’ll encounter them. So when unexpected obstacles arise, as they invariably do, . . . force yourself to recognize what your mind is doing so that you can prevent it from having a deleterious effect on your attitude. In this way you can prevent unexpected obstacles—even small ones—from stripping you of your most effective obstacle-buster: resolve.”
So, what will I do when I encounter unexpected obstacles?–Expect them, recognize the importance of attitude, and resolve to move forward.