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7 Ways To Let Your Action Self Loose On Obstacles

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Posted on: 28th March 2016, 2:41pm

[Right click and download a pdf version to read at you leisure]

You can always decide to ignore item 2 below to become a sitting duck for obstacles. If you are not constantly busy with item 2, you are guaranteed to go nowhere fast and obstacles will play a game of cat and mouse with you.

In this article, we shall talk about the coal face, so to speak, of overcoming obstacles. When dealing with obstacles, by far most of our time and effort must be allocated to actively doing the tasks we have listed to overcome the obstacle.

You cant plow a field simply by turning it over in your mind.
Gordon B. Hinckley

1. Light your fire

We must be motivated and energized to complete the tasks needed to overcome obstacles. The crucial requirement for motivation and energy is that the task must be clearly linked to our core values, beliefs, attitudes, personality and important goals. If we had followed the steps correctly to decide on actions to overcome the obstacles, the link between task and reason to do it, will already exist. We will be clear on the rewards for doing the task, and the negative consequences for not doing it.

People have emotions and energy levels that go up and down. It is therefore advisable to find a way to energize us for the day and for specific tasks. Individuals usually have their own ways of doing this. Two energizing rituals are given here for those who are still looking for ideas.

A morning ritual is good to tune in for the day generally, which includes tasks to overcome obstacles. The ritual proposed by Hal Elrod in his book The Miracle Morning is both comprehensive and adaptable. The ritual can be made as short or as long as you like. You decide on the content in each of the six sections which are in the mnemonic S A V E R S. The whole ritual can be done in less than 15 minutes (much longer if you want to) and really set you up to do your best for the day.

The six sections are below with content suggestions to do the whole ritual in bed in the morning. This is for illustration only. Best is to make the ritual your own with your own content.

(S)ilence short ritual to connect with the universal powers

(A)ffirmation 3 core affirmations

(V)isualization relive a very successful visualization, and then visualize success in important goals

(E)xercise 5 isotonic exercises from head to toe

(R)eading read a quote from my obstacle beating quote a day subscription

(S)cribbling (writing, journaling) One success from the previous day and 3 things to be grateful for

It is also good to have an energy booster just before we start with one of our obstacle busting actions. There are many ways in which people do this, but here is one connected to the Hindu elephant headed deity Ganesha which is the Destroyer of obstacles. It is a mantra with the words Om Gam Ganapataye Namaha, (A good explanation how to use the mantra is on this website. If you want to go for it in a big way, you can buy a 30 minuteMP3 of the mantra enhanced with brain wave technology.)

Rituals are not just nice to do. They are scientifically proven to improve our performance.

There is force in the universe, which, if we permit it, will flow through us 
and produce miraculous results.
Mahatma Gandhi

2. Knock them over

Actions we must take to beat obstacles stand there like ten-pin bowls waiting for us to knock them over. If we dont roll the ball, we shill not knock them over.

Action is the force that will destroy the obstacle. All the other thinking and preparation were done just to choose the most effective actions, but they in themselves will not move the obstacle at all.

Even minimal actions will do more to overcome obstacles than researching or thinking about the obstacle. Even poorly thought out and imperfect actions will do more, than trying to find perfect actions.

We want our Active Selves in the front line of the battle against our obstacles. Our Active Self is the doer in us, that part in our being that is action oriented, the busy bee.

Our Active Self is the part in us with a burning desire to jump in and do something about the obstacle. We must, of course, keep the Active Self in check for us to decide on the best course of action, but we want our Active Self to keep us under severe pressure to start taking action immediately and keep going until the obstacle is overcome.

We want to spend the vast majority of our time taking action to beat the obstacle. We can take the first action as soon as we have a minimum workable plan of action. We can develop the action plan further as we go along. We shall even get valuable feedback from actions already taken to improve our further course of action.

Action is what gives us first hand experience of the nature of the beast which is our obstacle. Action is what teaches us how to struggle with the obstacle, and how to develop the resilience, resourcefulness, toughness, and adaptability required to deal with obstacles.

Our top priority in dealing with obstacles must be to act sooner rather than later, and to take more action not less, and to keep on taking action in the face of resistance and not to stop. We must remember to include rewards in our action system to give us something nice to celebrate successful actions.

If you want to achieve something, sitting around and just waiting is not really an answer to get your desired results.

3. Ears of the hippopotamus

The most delightful moment of their conversation, perhaps, was his story of a Scandinavian visitor to South Africa using the expression Thats just the tip of the iceberg in a dialogue with some local farmers, whose faces remained blank until an interpreter translated the phrase to mean Thats just the ears of the hippopotamus.' (Published Apr 28, 2010 Copyright 2010 Samantha Schnee)

Our obstacle may be as big as a hippopotamus, but we cannot work with the whole hippopotamus at once. We want to concentrate on something small, like the hippos ears. When the hippo is in the water, not much more than its small ears stick out about the water.

We should have many actions listed to deal with the obstacle, but we can only do one at a time we can only work with the ears of the hippo, not the whole hippo. We can accomplish great things by taking small steps consistently.

Just like we can see the hippos ears sticking out above the water, we need a system to show the task we must do now and keep the other tasks out of sight. The rest should be hidden like the body of the hippo under the water so that we can concentrate on the one task to do now.

There are many systems to list, organize and prioritize tasks needed to overcome obstacles. A simple system that works well, is a combination of Kanban and Trello.

Kanban is a system of moving cards to follow the flow through a process. For the purpose here, a simple system of three columns of cards is used. To do items are in column one. Doing cards are in column two these are the ears of the hippo items that we are concentrating on, and busy doing now. Completed tasks are moved to the done column. It is good to see the done items to give us a sense of achievement as we can see the progress we are making.

Trello is an online program in which you can create the three columns for To Do, Doing, and Done. It is easy to create cards for the specifics tasks to do in the To Do column, with the priority items at the top. Items can be dragged up or down in the column. Drag top items to the Doing column so that you can concentrate on them and only them. Once done, drag the card to the Done column.

Whatever system we use, we want to focus on the ears of the hippo, the tasks we want to knock over now. Then we want the system to put the next task in front of us.

Faith is taking the first step even when you dont see the whole staircase. 
Martin Luther King Jr.

4. Dig gold out of time

When I was very young, I overheard one of my old aunts saying she did not want to go for an afternoon nap, because she would shortly be lying 6 feet under the ground for a very long time. As I grew up and moved deeper into adulthood her words served as constant reminder to me that we were living on the clock, so to speak, and our time was a limited consumable resource.

The question arises what are we to do with this limited consumable resource that is being used up every second. On the one extreme we can drift along without making an effort to use the resource available to us. On the other extreme we can become overly driven, thinking we must live life to the full every second. There is, of course nothing wrong with either, or any other approach.

When we are dealing with obstacles, we shall want to use the time allocated to dealing with the obstacle to best effect. We shall want to get the maximum results for the time spent dealing with the obstacle. There is a saying that time is money, but in our context of dealing with obstacles, we can think of time as a resource containing gold that we want to dig out. We want to use time not only to overcome the obstacle, but more importantly to benefit and improve our lives through our efforts to beat the obstacle. In the same way we want to find opportunities in obstacles, we want to find gold, benefits, in the time we spend working on overcoming obstacles.

To dig out the gold in time, we must find the optimum balance in the time we allocate to different aspects of our lives personal, social, health, recreation, career, assets, and environment. Then we need to find the optimum rhythm to spend time in total concentration on our activity, and then to spend time on a break.

I have found by trial and error that 25 minute concentration and 5 minute breaks work well for me, with longer breaks when I need them. This is similar to the Pomodoro Technique (a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo to break down work into intervals, called pomodoros, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks) When I was younger, I could easily handle 40 minute or longer concentrated work I find this technique especially useful when I get in the zone and can work and concentrate for long periods without a break. The forced short breaks make the work more pleasant and increase the quality and quantity of output.

There are many time management techniques to choose from. We can enhance our work to overcome obstacles, if we use appropriate time management techniques that work for us, to execute the tasks we need to do to beat our obstacles. This is how to be effective while we enjoy the process of overcoming obstacles.

Remember that you cannot build your pyramid in twenty-four hours. Be patient. Never allow your day to become so cluttered that you neglect your most important goal to do the best you can, enjoy this day, and rest satisfied with what you have accomplished.
Og Mandino

5. Proud like a peacock

We want to do our absolute best in our efforts to overcome obstacles so that we can be as proud of our work as the peacock showing off its beautiful feathers.

One of the satisfying things in life is the warm feeling of pride in ourselves when we have done a job as well as we can. The end result may, or may not be what we wanted or expected, but we can feel proud if we had done our best.

The way to go, is to set high standards for ourselves, and expect to act in accordance with those high standards. We cannot expect to become a master of obstacles, if we offer lazy and sloppy efforts to overcome obstacles.

Doing work we can be proud of becomes much easier if we are happy and enjoy doing the work. The implication is that we must seek out as far as possible the types of obstacles we love and enjoy working with.

It is true that life presents us with some obstacles we do not like at all, but that we cannot ignore. In these cases we must find out what the reason is that we feel we have to deal with the obstacle. The reason will relate to our central values, attitudes, personality, and goals, otherwise it would not be something that we felt compelled to deal with. Once we find the reason in ourselves why we must deal with the obstacle, it becomes much easier to bring the element of joy and fun into our work to overcome obstacles.

We need to find ways for use to remain physically relaxed and mentally highly alert to do our best work while enjoying it.

If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.
Charles R. Swindoll

6. Enticing distractions seducing you

Many of us are very good at finding nice and pleasant things we simply have to do before we can start working on tasks we must do to overcome our obstacles. Even while we are busy with obstacle busting tasks, we are prone to find pleasurable side shows that we can attend to instead of working on our task.

These are the seductive distractions that make our work ineffective at best, and at worst can derail our attempt to overcome the obstacle altogether.

There are three points we can keep in mind to deal with these distractions.

(1) Self knowledge. It is relatively easy to study ourselves to become aware of the types of distractions that we are typically prone to. Once we know what sort of distractions find it easy to entice us away from our task, it becomes easier to deal with them. I once read that resourceful people do not collect a lot of information they are not going to use. I could see straight away that it was one of my distractors as my attention could easily move from the task at hand to irrelevant information that cropped up while doing the task. This knowledge alone made me more aware of my undesirable tendency to wander, and helped me deal with it. We must have a list of not to do things.

(2) Notes: Making notes, writing it down, is a good habit generally, but especially so when dealing with distractions. If we always have something with us to make notes, it will be easy to put our distractions on paper. If it is an idea, we can just make a note of it to consider later at an appropriate time. The same can be done with any thought or source of information we come across. Even when the distraction involves people, we can find out what they want and make a note to help them at a more opportune time.

(3) Intrusive distractions. Some distractions are obstacles in themselves. These fall in the category of Murphys law: Before you can do something, you must do something else. While working on an obstacle, you find something crops up that prevents you from continuing. This is an obstacle, usually a small one, that you must deal with before you can continue with you original task. Just deal with it in the same way you use to overcome all obstacles. What we must not do, is to allow the intrusive distraction, to seduce us into doing all kinds of things that are pleasant to do, but not helping to overcome the obstacles at hand.

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

7. Negotiate bumps in the road

It is not a secret that our goals and objectives may remain constant, but our plans to get there almost invariably get twisted, turned, or blocked. The road to our goals is seldom a smooth freeway. It is more often a bumpy gravel road, meandering through rough terrain with many ups and downs.

We know there will be frustrations on our way to overcome obstacles, and we must be ready for them. That is why we must develop our resilience, resourcefulness, and adaptability as much as possible to cope with these frustrations. Our plan is the road map, but we must make sure our plan also has the alternative routes to take when one road gets blocked.

If we had done our planning correctly, we would have anticipated foreseeable problems, and included contingency plans in our map. We should also have our strategy in place to deal rapidly and effectively with problems we meet unexpectedly. We should deal with these using the same process we use generally to overcome obstacles. We must apply our ingenuity and we shall often find ways to pass roadblocks in the least expected ways.

If we keep our goal in mind, and believe in our obstacle busting systems, and in our ability to use these systems effectively, it will be very difficult for bumps in the road to stop us. We must keep in mind the advice Obamas adviser Rahm Emanuel, gave him. You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.

Every day, you have to remind yourself that you will always succeed no matter what happens and whoever comes in your way. 
If you have this state of mind, you will obtain greater outcomes than you have every expected. 

Join: Beat obstacles quotes, proverbs, affirmations

Bram Radcon Dashboard
Be More Motivated Put the Fire in Your Belly
Be More Productive Optimize Your Output
Total Focus Mental Skills Get Limitless Powers of Concentration
Master Time Management Use Your Time Wisely
Be the Best You Can Be Achieve Your True Potential
Be Insanely Productive Dismiss Distractions & Power Through
Be More Organized Bring Order out of Chaos

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