“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” Randy Pausch.
Life can get quite challenging and difficult at times, almost stifling. A wise man once said that ‘life isn’t a bed of roses’ but the choices we make and the efforts and pains we take to overcome the challenges that confront us is what separates us from those who decide to throw in the towel. When you feel like you are lost without any sense of purpose or direction, you need to dig deep and pull yourself out of the rut.
One of the best ways to overcome challenges, as I have learned through experience, is to never let them get the better of you. Whenever I feel disgruntled or disappointed with a particular situation in life, I try and build a positive mind set. Just as we require the extra effort to keep us healthy, we also require a similar effort to work things out. Everything that I have achieved so far has not come easy. In fact, there were days when I just wanted to give up. However, when the chips were down, I realized that the power of an indomitable spirit will always prevail, thereby helping me to overcome some of life’s trickiest challenges.
I am outlining below some of the ways that I have overcome challenges; hopefully, you could use them in your hour of need.
I deliberately seek out tough situations
I believe that struggle helps build character. Some of the best moments of my life have been those that required me to overcome obstacles in my life. Therefore, try and identify tasks and situations that are the toughest to achieve and push yourself to the limit to conquer these. Get out of your comfort zone. Nothing will give you a greater sense of accomplishment than achieving something that you had to fight hard for. By doing so, you reveal the fighting qualities that you might not have ever realized you possessed. And it is just these qualities that will hold you in good stead going forward. Mark Twain wrote “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” It is very sound advice – each day, tackle the thing that you find the toughest first and all the other jobs will be a cakewalk.
I look at the positive side of things
It was Stephen Covey who said – “Happiness, like unhappiness, is a proactive choice.” More often than not, we tend to focus on the negatives, possibly because our brains are inclined towards the unachievable rather than what can be achieved. To counter this, try and focus on the positive aspects right through the day and that will reflect in everything you do. Therefore, always find reasons to appreciate the positives that surround you rather than worry about the negatives. It is but natural to feel anxious at times – however, do remember that anxiety is not going to disappear by just thinking about it; only positive action will work.
I write it down
Maintaining a journal can be quite cathartic, especially if you are going through a difficult and challenging phase in your life. I always maintain a journal that details my challenges as and when they occur in order to truly put into words what I am experiencing. This helps me to re-visit difficult challenges of the past and how I overcame them. Try it out, re-visiting my conquered challenges helps!
I believe in nature-therapy
Sometimes all you need to do to overcome challenges is to spend some quality time with yourself far from the source of all your problems. This does not mean that you are running away from the challenges you are currently facing, it just gives you some personal time to figure out ways to overcome obstacles. During a particularly challenging time in my life, I decided to go for a vacation to a nearby hill station in order to claim some much needed peace and quiet. It really helped improve my energy levels and my thinking and gave me a renewed sense of purpose when I returned home.
Go for a long walk in a quiet and secluded garden; relax and think positive thoughts and you may find yourself energised after that.
I celebrate achievements
One of the best methods I follow is to make a list of all my achievements that have made me the happiest and instilled in me a sense of fulfilment. This listing will also help your brain process as you recollect the moments of delight and happiness that resulted from your achievements. Also, try and make a list of the challenges you want to overcome. Once you overcome the challenges on the list, do not forget to stop and celebrate in order to feel good about yourself.
I like to be inspired
One of the best ways to overcome challenges is to take inspiration from another person who may have faced the same predicament as you. That person could be someone you know or one of the greats from history. I always ask myself how my role model would deal with the situation that I am facing. Then I would try and put myself in his or her shoes to figure out what that person would do that I could implement. It is widely said that one of the best ways to achieve what you want in life is to find someone who has achieved it and try and emulate him or her in reaching that particular goal. This can also be done in order to overcome a certain mental state as well.
I ask questions
I ask myself a whole lot of questions because I firmly believe that all questions lead to answers. Isaac Newton was walking in an orchard and noticed an apple fall. When he saw this, he asked himself: “If the apple falls, does the moon also fall?” This question put Newton on the road to all his future accomplishments. He went on to describe the force of gravity.
Albert Einstein also started by asking just one simple question: “What would happen if I rode a beam of light?” This prepared the stage for his theories of special and general relativity.
Among the many questions I ask myself on a daily basis, when in self-doubt, are: “What’s wrong with me?” or “Why can’t I do this?” I find that if I constantly ask these questions, my brain is compelled to come up with the necessary answers. Ask yourself these questions: “What good will these situations bring to me?” or “How do I make it work?” These questions will definitely help in coming up with workable solutions.
I take action
I have learned to stop complaining about my situation and instead find ways to overcome them by taking firm action. When faced with a challenge, set a specific task related to it and then work towards accomplishing it in order to regain control of your life.
I label my emotions
Some of the leading neurologists have supported the fact that we should label our emotions. I, too, follow this practice in order to reduce activity in the emotional brain and enhance activity in the other areas that form part of the brain that are linked to focus and awareness. So the next time you find yourself in an emotional situation that you want to escape, all you need to do is label that particular emotion and then detach yourself from the experience. This will definitely help you to focus on another emotion, a positive one maybe, that will serve you right.
These were some of the ways that I use to overcome challenges in my life. My situation may differ from yours, but the steps to overcome challenges are universal and can be applicable to anyone going through a particularly difficult time in their life.
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