After we finished our meal and had a cup of warm tea, Dharma began my lesson. "Tadpole, a frog with courage can repel adversity. I think, my son, that whether or not you know it, you are a very courage young frog!" "Me, Sir?" How am I courageous?" I queried. "I've always thought of myself as being a little weak." "Nonsense, my boy! You became the very first frog author when nobody thought you could accomplish it. It takes great courage and determination to push forward with your dreams when there is precious little support behind you. Humans, and us frogs, too, stumble not because our goals are out of reach but because of unexpected obstacles. Sometimes these obstacles can seem insurmountable. There are three types of obstacles that we all tend to face." Here is a synopsis of what Dharma had to say about overcoming our challenges.
1. Personal Obstacles. These include things that are related to our psychology, behaviors, and state of mind. They can include unhelpful habits, debilitating emotions and paralyzing fear, as well as limiting beliefs. They prevent us from reaching our goals by preventing us from making effective decisions that could help us to build the momentum to push forward. We all tend to spend far too much time and energy with these self-sabotaging thoughts. Some of the more common personal obstacles are; lack of patience, lack of discipline, lack of knowledge on the subject, fear of change, fear of failure, feeling unworthy, having too many excuses, and procrastination.
2. Social obstacles. These are related to the people who either don't cooperative with you, sabotage you, or are simply incompetent and don't do what they say they will. When it comes to social obstacles, it's best to do a little planning ahead. Be sure and adequately clarify your needs to all parties involved. Be thorough and knowledgeable with your instructions. And develop good strong bonds with everyone that you will rely on.the most. Obviously you can't control everyone's thinking and/or actions...you'd go crazy if you tried. It's best to try and subtly influence them by doing your best to understand their needs, motives, and desires. Doing so will help you maneuver around any social obstacles that you'll encounter.
3. Environmental obstacles. These are the obstacles that you'll encounter and have virtually no control over. Consider Murphy's Law: "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong at the worst possible time, all of the time and when you least expect it." If this sounds disheartening, it isn't meant to. It's meant to be sound advice and it's always best to be as prepared as you can for whatever happens. When you're planning for the future, gather as much information as you can about all the possible scenarios that might happen and the consequences of your decisions and actions. You might call this having a back-up plan (or two) or Plan B. And although you can't foresee all the possible roadblocks and prepare for them all, think of as many as you can and how you can overcome those challenges. You might want to adopt a 360 degree approach to thinking about your life, your goals, and dreams. This means thinking about things in an expanded way, using hindsight, foresight, and insight when making your decisions. Failure is failure at at; it's a valuable teaching tool. Learn from it and use that knowledge to move ahead.
Dharma concluded my weekly lesson with this sage advice, "No one, Irwin, looks forward to running into obstacles on the path through life. But they will be there. Of that, we can be certain. It is always best to plan ahead as thoroughly as you can, then learn to accept 'what is,' With courage, you can find the best possible solution to your challenge, whatever kind it is." And with that, my wise teacher and dear friend took his muffins and hopped away until next week.
I found his advice very helpful. Like everyone, I constantly have challenges to face and it's good to be reminded that we can all overcome adversity...it just takes a little courage.