Life is full of obstacles and hindrances. As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said: “the only constant is change.” Life is not a linear relationship. It is not a straight-forward solution. You will be faced with ups and downs every step of the way- this is something we all must accept as a truth of life. The issue with obstacles, especially those of greater magnitude, is that people lose the motivation to overcome them. They are confronted with something that turns their world upside down and begin to spiral downwards. Hindrances, obstacles, barriers, hurdles, drawback, complication — whatever you may call it, inherently have a negative connotation to them. However, if foresight was applied to the problem, it would become apparent that obstacles are not a negative thing: they can prove vital in creating change, for the better. In an anxiety-ridden society, creating a more optimistic approach to the outlook on obstacles can be helpful in dealing with mental health. The negativity surrounding problems is old-fashioned and outdated. Obstacles can be your greatest ally in life.

It seems ironic to say. How can something that interferes with your life actually improve your life? Take a look at this simple (and albeit childish) drawing:

Obstacles interfere with any attempt at linearity. It requires change to be made in order to get around and reach your goals. Rather than seeing these obstacles in a negative light, view them as a necessary evil. It reinforces adaptation and development. It betters yourself as a person.

Developing the mindset is the hardest part, but is a huge factor of success. Take the likes of some famous entrepreneurs:

  • Thomas Edison: Thomas Edison had 3,000 theories of of a working light bulb, in which only two were right.
  • Henry Ford: Ford went broke 5 times and was told to stay away from the automobile manufacturing industry.
  • Milton Hershey: Hershey had three prior candy businesses, all of which failed.
  • Jeff Bezos: Jeff Bezos originally had an idea for an online auction-place, which failed. He refined the idea and created Amazon.
  • Bill Gates: At 17, Gates founded Traf-O-Data, which failed. He used the experience to later create Microsoft.

Failure and overcoming failure does not have to apply to just entrepreneurs or companies. It can be universally applied to any problem in life. Applying the mindset of viewing obstacles as advantageous can create a more optimistic outlook on life, lead to success, and incite change.

The change that comes with getting over obstacles can be seen in a multitude of ways. It could be physically: starting a workout routine. It be emotionally: caring for others more. Or, it could be mentally: developing the mindset that obstacles can be your greatest ally.

This was originally published on It has since been reposted on my blog.

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