Enjoying happiness despite obstacles

Enjoying happiness despite obstacles

I was speaking at a conference recently when one of the other speakers made a simple but profound point via a great metaphor (the best ones are almost always the simplest ones). 

He noted that "road signs" are not the same as "road blocks"! 

The former just warm you of obstacles or dangers to look out for; where as the latter is a more definitive recommendation (or "order") to STOP!

But how often to we mistake the two in our lives? How often do we give up when we see a road sign when in face we could persevere and work our way around or through it? 

The simple answer for some of us is…too often! 

Which is why we love this article from one of our favourite blogs/sites…Zen Habits. It's written by the wonderfully wise Leo Babauta and titled "Working with the obstacles in your path". The principles here are vitally important for those of us seeking to live a great life and enjoy happiness and it begins like this…

Let’s say you are sitting at your desk, with something to write, and you notice some anxiety, and an urge to go instead to one of your favorite distractions.

And let’s also say you decided to adopt my approach, the Obstacle is the Path.

So the anxiety, and the distraction, are your obstacle … but how do you “work with them” as I advised?

First, you don’t run from the obstacle. So instead of seeing the anxiety as something to be avoided (with distraction and procrastination), see it as the place you go to. Same with the fear of failure, the worry that things will go wrong, the cold fear that comes when you think of quitting your job and starting something new. Anxiety isn’t the worst thing in the world, and is nothing to be feared. It’s just a feeling, and we can survive it. So sit with it.

Second, you accept the feeling. If it’s anxiety, say, “Cool, I’m feeling some anxiety.” Not, “No! I don’t want to be anxious!” The first actually calms the situation down, and allows you to look at it like an observer. The second makes the situation worse, and makes you see the situation as a scared child.

Third, you look at the cause. What is causing your anxiety? Is the writing really such a bad thing? No, actually, it’s not that hard. It’s simply taking the time to think through some thoughts, and then putting them down in writing, and maybe editing that so that it’s clear and makes a bit of sense. The writing itself isn’t giving you the anxiety — it’s the fantasy you have of wanting to write something excellent that people will think is good and so they will judge you as competent and smart. And the anxiety comes from the worry that you will fail at this and people will instead judge you as dumb. This fantasy, which isn’t real, is the source of your anxiety…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE