Nothing gets in my way today, no one has the power of steel beneath them – 10th February 2022

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What is standing in your way right now?

Probably the biggest thing standing in my way at the moment is time.  It’s not just a matter of not having enough, or perhaps having too many things to do, it’s also that I don’t have the stamina or patience enough to stick with one thing for long periods.  So I like to do many different things for short periods of time every day.  So even if I freed up more time I would probably still only continue the activity I was thinking to focus on for the same amount of short time before thinking about doing something else.

So perhaps I should be saying that it is not time that stands in my way – because I don’t lack it, but my ability to focus for long enough periods.  Even when I think about this I consider that I often can spend 3 or 4 hours focussed on certain things.  Hmm….ok – nothing is standing in my way!

What would happen if you overcame the obstacle? More importantly, what would happen if you didn’t (think broadly: emotionally, physically, financially, etc.)?

So, I think I have already overcome the obstacle, or consider that there is no obstacle.  Perhaps this results in a lack of motivation.  I often experience that feeling of wanting to do more even when I am busy and wanting to do less, even when I feel there is little to do.  Sometimes I need to suffer to succeed.  I am generally motivated though – much more so recently.  I am also relaxed about what I wish to achieve.  I am happy with that balance.

So, no real obstacles, no suffocating deadlines.  Just do the things I wish to do little by little as the opportunity arises.

Can you reframe the most pressing current obstacle as simply a to-do list? In other words, in order to overcome this, what do you need to learn? What tasks do you need to perform? Who do you need to convince?

I wrote the paragraphs above some time ago and only now returning to this topic.  Now Amy is in Australia I have the odd obstacle of trying to keep myself fed!  Not really an obstacle I suppose but something that I haven’t had to think about much for the last 4 years.

Anyway, reframing this into a to-do list (without just writing ‘eat something’!), I guess, broken down, amounts to:

  • plan meals ahead of time
  • stock up the fridge and freezer
  • eat more fruit
  • boil some eggs
  • cook (no!) – really, I can easily do some roasted veggies at the weekend

What do I need to learn to do these – nothing!  I know about them all.  I just need to do it!  The tasks I need to perform – go shopping!  Hopefully, I can do this tomorrow but right now I’m still waiting for my paycheque to clear.  Shopping is the first step – most everything else will fall into place after that.  Who do I need to convince? Haha – that’s easy – just myself!

Have you ever used an “obstacle” as an excuse not to get started? Did you regret it?

Yes, lots of times.  Not sure about regretting it though.  I do recall the time I didn’t go to soccer trials in the school holidays (80 or 81?) because I was too scared to go and try out.  I’m not sure why. I was always bigging myself up but when it came to the crunch perhaps I was scared of failure or being told how I could be better.  I never liked taking advice from other people. It’s still a problem for me now, unless it is someone I really respect.

Are obstacles really just fears holding you back?

Yes, as I mentioned above – it was really just fear.  I’ve learned to deal with that mostly.  There are not so many things to be afraid of, though I’m not sure I could jump out of a plane.  I often wonder about fearful situations as may be seen in movies or on TV but then consider how unlikely those situations could be.  Even stressful situations with people at work I’m not afraid of now.  I know that any situation will be finished at some point and that it is most likely that I will be sleeping in my bed later that same day.

What is the longest-running obstacle in your life?

My thoughts.  An ongoing obstacle that I am learning to manage better over time.  I am also feeling recently, that I have used alcohol as a coping mechanism for many years and that has been an obstacle to clarity of thoughts.   My thoughts are still clouded somewhat but they have generally improved since I have stopped being dependent on alcohol.  I miss the feeling of being drunk, and the temporary high from it.  But it’s no longer worth it.  I am happier without it.

What steps have you used to make progress toward overcoming it? How far have you come with it? What do you wish would happen? How would that be possible?

A few days break again, brings me back to finishing off my thoughts on these questions.

It seems that my obstacles are focus and ‘problem’ thoughts.  I have been thinking about this on and off over the last ten years but a little more specifically in the last couple of years and now at a point where I can identify these issues quickly, tell myself about them and take steps to address them.  That is something that I couldn’t do in the past, not until they got out of control and sometimes had to seek professional help.

So, recently I have noticed that I often compare myself to another person and think about how better I am, or how better I could/should be.  How I am right and they are wrong.  How my things are more important or more special.  I notice when I’m doing this and already talk myself out of it each time.  I put myself in their shoes and realise they could say exactly the same about me – and we would both be correct.

However, what I want to do is to stop having these thoughts in the first place.  I followed some advice from the Woebot app, reminding me of CBT methods I’ve learned before and whilst I know all these things, I realise I need to tell myself over and over again about them.  Perhaps I’m a slow learner or it’s just the fact that I am trying to reverse a long history of ‘problem’ thinking and that can’t be achieved just by studying something just once or twice.

So, I am still practising, learning, growing and eventually, will overcome these obstacles.  I think once the problem thinking is relieved then focus will become easier.  I’m already thinking about how to maintain focus for longer periods (or forgiving myself and realising that I do already maintain a lot of focus on certain things).

What is the biggest obstacle you faced in your past? Did you overcome it? If so, how? If not, why?

I think this is mostly just a repetition of what I’ve already written.  All the obstacles of my past don’t really feel like they were obstacles in hindsight.  There were things that had to be done – and they got done.

The biggest obstacle is myself – is that something that I need to overcome.  I just need to be happy with myself.  That is a constant process and not a race with a finish point.

People take different roads seeking fulfilment and happiness. Just because they’re not on your road doesn’t mean they’ve gotten lost.

Dalai Lama

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