You can focus on the Obstacle. Or, you could try this for even more rapid and sustainable progress: Focus on the Opening.
The obstacles are real.
Every day, there are many demands upon your time and energy. And chances are good that much of what you face today is daunting and difficult. For example:
- A challenging relationship (or three…)
- A difficult work environment
In fact, probably much of your time is spent doing things that are challenging and difficult. So let’s begin by acknowledging that the obstacles are real.
But so are the openings.
A good friend of mine rows on the Willamette River several times a week. During the work week, she gets up at 4 a.m., so she can be on the river rowing at 5:15 a.m.
It’s dark at 5:15 a.m. So there’s challenge number one. Challenge number two is the current, and so on. But perhaps the biggest challenge while rowing in the darkness is to not hit the pylons as they pass under the many bridges which span the Willamette.
And for years, her coaches emphasized not hitting these rather large obstacles. A reasonable approach. After all, a collision with a pylon while rowing a slender, lightweight racing shell could be disastrous.
But then, she went to a rowing camp in Florida. The head coach there, an Olympic gold-medalist no less, said something that changed the way my friend thinks about rowing on the Willamette, or anywhere, for that matter.
The coach said,
“Don’t focus on the obstacles. Focus on the openings.”
Meaning, focus mainly on where you’re going, rather than focusing mainly on what you’re trying to avoid.
What are you avoiding?
Let’s say you’re in a difficult relationship. And let’s fill in some hypothetical details. Let’s say you share a house with this person; you have pets and share financial responsibilities. And…
Things don’t feel like they are working out.
What you see are the obstacles: She’s demanding, she’s trying to run your life, and she makes you feel guilty about even thinking of leaving the relationship. You get the picture.
You could focus on all the problems, (the obstacles) and feel pretty trapped and overwhelmed by the many ways she is making you feel bad.
Or, you could focus on the opportunities (the openings). Wait a minute, you could say to yourself. I’m not that old, I’m a decient guy, I’m not perfect, but I want something better than this. Hmm… If I stepped back a bit from the Tangle, what might be some possible solutions that might be good for me and maybe even for her?
Do some writing. You could write on your computer or tablet, sure. But even better: pull out one of those wafer-sliced pieces of tree (otherwise known as paper) and a pen. Write out the scenario with an emphasis on what you want and how you might get what you want if you considered your options (your openings).
When you face a difficult obstacle, consider your opening.
Want more help?
I can help you find the opening in the place where you feel stuck.