Reframing the Obstacles in our lives

Anyone who has ever attempted to accomplish an important goal has faced obstacles. It is the way of the world that when you set out to accomplish something big, everything will go wrong, and various speedbumps arise between you and your goal. It may feel like the world is conspiring against you and forcing you to make a choice. At this point, you have two choices: give up or power through. Too many of us choose to give up at the first obstacle, so we never live up to our full potential.

What causes us to give up so easily? It could be a lack of belief in the importance of our goal, or a lack of self-discipline. Maybe it is a desire for instant gratification or being sold a false dream of quick riches. It really could be that we are just lazy and do not want to put in the work needed to accomplish important goals, or that we are weak and unable to manage the trials of life. Whatever the reason, I believe that reframing the problem can help us overcome these obstacles and work our way towards our eventual goals.

Obstacles are really opportunities for growth

Think of your obstacles as opportunities. You wanted to build a successful business overnight, but multiple obstacles are in your way. These are not your enemies. These are simply opportunities to learn how business works, how to excel in your field, and how to solve major problems. The best life lessons are learned on the field when facing challenges and overcoming them.

An important life skill for anyone to develop is problem solving. The obstacles we face in life give us a chance to learn, demonstrate and refine our critical thinking skills. It is through these trials that we grow and evolve into better versions of ourselves. Simply put, without obstacles we will stagnate and never truly upgrade our skillsets.

Obstacles are actually just tests of will power

How willing are you to accomplish your goal? Do you really know yourself and the limits of your will power? Well good news for you, an obstacle is here to assess your will power for you. All you have to do is power through it and you will know that you have more will power than you ever realized before.

Be excited to face the next obstacle. It is a chance to prove to yourself that you have the willpower to beat the odds, overcome any setbacks, and work through every obstacle. Face it head on and take it as a challenge to prove that you are a model of true will power.

Obstacles are, in fact, necessary to accomplish our goals

An obstacle may have popped up because you lack something key to accomplishing your goal. And that key lies in learning from this obstacle and overcoming it. It may be that you need certain knowledge to succeed in life, but you can only gain that knowledge or experience from working through this obstacle. So, the obstacle has popped up at the right time to give you what you need to grow.

Sometimes what seems like an obstacle is, in fact, the way forward. The path you had chosen for yourself was going to lead to ruin or failure, but this obstacle may redirect you to a better path, one that is more likely to succeed. Stop looking at obstacles as signs to give up, start looking at them as part of the process of success.

Obstacles are what make success so much sweeter

When you narrate your success story to your descendants and students many decades from now, which part of the story do you think they will find most interesting? It will not be all those happy smooth days when everything was going your way. No, what they will really be interested in is what obstacles you faced and how you overcame those obstacles. It is that part of the story that makes it gripping and makes the happy ending so much sweeter.

You are living that part of the story right now. The pain, stress, anxiety, and fear you feel as you chase your goals are all part of the process. You too will find the taste of success so much sweeter if you must struggle to get it. Anything that we gain too easily we fail to appreciate. It is the goals we struggled for, and the obstacles that we overcame in the process, which make success so satisfying. Your story is not over yet, you are just in the most exciting chapter. Keep moving forward and finish your story.

Think Positive and reframe your obstacles accordingly.

Life is not meant to be easy. This is especially true if you want to accomplish remarkable things in your life. Let go of the defeatist attitude. Stop with the negative thinking. Prepare yourself to face a variety of challenges on the path to achieving your goals. Success does not come easily, but when it comes, it is so sweet. It was worth all the pain and all the hard work.

Everybody faces obstacles in their lives. But with a positive attitude, strong work ethic, firm trust in Allah, and a never-give-up attitude, you should be able to work through most obstacles and achieve amazing things with your life. If you want to accomplish something big, be ready to work for it, and to face various challenges on the way to accomplishing it. Success never comes easily, and it should not come easily.

Be mindful of Allah, and you will find Him in front of you. Recognize and acknowledge Allah in times of ease and prosperity, and He will remember you in times of adversity. And know that what has passed you by [and you have failed to attain] was not going to befall you, and what has befallen you was not going to pass you by. And know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and hardship with ease.

Nawawi’s 40 Hadith, no: 19
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Posted by Ismail Kamdar

Ismail Kamdar is the Founder of Islamic Self Help and Izzah Academy, author of over a dozen books, and the operations manager of Yaqeen Institute.