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Identify Your Obstacles and Choices To Obtain Success

Aug 17, 2007
As we all know, by now, hopefully, obstacles, setbacks, blocks, negative feedback and over-estimated performance expectations are a natural part of any enterprise or undertaking we have in life. The key, then, which separates the best from the rest, the no-quitter from the quitters, is how to view these initial setbacks and failures. They have different words in their vocabulary to describe these situations.

And more importantly, they have different questions in their mind - whether they're aware of it or not - which are being asked by themselves whenever they'd encounter these instances.

You see, I've encountered a fascinating realisation, an observation of natural phenomena, of the patterns of all things - those which happened in my life, and those which I've noted from the lives of others in the past, or even those I've observed from fiction.

And what is that?

Truth #1:

There are infinite variables, possibilities and probabilities. Every point in time, every point where we are about to make a decision, and even every significant plot point in a story has a virtually unlimited number of alternative turn-outs.

The pattern of cause & effect is not a linear chain; as in cause leading to effect.

It is more like a web. One cause can possibly produce many effects, or vice-versa, an effect can be the product of a combined number of causes.

That much is obvious.

By the way, I didn't come to realise this fact from watching a certain pretentiously philosophizing action film currently playing this summer. Please.

Truth #2:

By now, we should all know, hopefully, that there are both objective and subjective levels to every experience we embrace. To be prudent, one must have a balance of placing both objective and subjective labels to their experiences.

Which leads me to tell you to regard an initial setback which you encounter as objectively as possible.

No. Wrong. You should both experience it subjectively, feel the failure, the weight of it pulling you down.

This is good for you to learn from it. The negative experience of encountering a small failure serves to strengthen your memory to not repeat it again. So make use of it.

Then, after you've had enough of it, begin to take it objectively. The key is knowing how much and when to feel it subjectively and then objectively.

And when we are viewing this situation in as an objective manner as possible, we see it as merely feedback, a reaction to our actions, an effect of the cause which we trigger.

We find that it is also natural, it is almost supposed to be, but just not what we had intended it to be.

From here, we can jump straight to action, feeling light and free, not shackled by the subjective experience of failure which shines upon it in a negative light.

We can begin to take remedial action to fix, restart, traverse, get over or get around this failure.


Back to Truth #1 concerning the pattern of cause & effect being a web rather than a linear chain.

What did I say? That a cause can have multiple effects. And an effect can have multiple causes.

Your intended result, your goal, your desire, your performance target, is an effect.

If you did not get the effect which you had intended for, then the cause with which you've produced that effect is not effective in the sense that you want it to match your initially intended result. However, it is still effective in the sense that it does produce a result, an effect, a reaction.

Therefore, if an effect which you've elicited is not the effect that you want, then you need to change the cause!

In simple terms: If at first you fail, try, try, and then try again.

Other words: Never, never, never give up!

Here are some tips and some effective questions to go along with them:

- At every point along the path of your enterprise/undertaking/project, constanstly ask yourself how this can be better. Ask what other options have you. How can this turn out a better or worse way.

Other words: Be open and flexible to other options.

- In the initial planning stage, plot all the steps and all the alternative steps you can take. Make a plan B. A plan C and a contingency plan. Complexity of plan depends upon the complexity of your undertaking and the value of your end reward. Though this may not always be true.

- Ask some effective meta-questions to aid you in learning from mistakes and setbacks and applying the proposed improvements and modifications to previously lacking performance standards.

Ask these questions to help you learn how to apply the answers and ideas you may get about how to improve the way you work so that you can bounce back up from your failure and continue.

The questions are:

What is really going on here? What is the truth behind this situation?

What do people tell me is wrong? What do people tell me is the cause of this problem? Are they correct? Are they 100% accurate?

What do I think? Is my view 100% accurate? How do I know?

Am I looking at it subjectively or objectively? How can I view it more objectively? Have I felt enough of a subjective emotional experience to this setback? Why must I now view it more objectively? What if I am viewing it objectively already?

What are the alternative ways to achieve my target? How else can I do/be/have (state your intended goal here)?

What will each alternative way lead to?

What are the positive and negative points about each path?

What will I gain and lose if I go a certain way?

How can I maintain an open mind to alternative methods which are in line with my principles?

Why must I maintain an open mind to alternative methods which are in line with my principles?

What would it be like if I am already maintaining an open mind to alternative methods which are in line with my principles?

You can think of some more questions for yourself, can you?
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