“Success is determined not by whether or not you face obstacles, but by your reaction to them. And if you look at these obstacles as a containing fence, they become your excuse for failure. If you look at them as a hurdle, each one strengthens you for the next.”
We all have the choice on how to approach hardships in our life. Are the obstacles to our success or opportunities to grow? Answering this critical question sheds light to our mindset and how we approach situations during our day to day lives.
Those who approach situations as obstacles typically have a scarcity mindset. They see these setbacks from a pessimistic viewpoint and often lament how unfair life is to them.
Is it any wonder why these kinds of people fail so often?
Instead of seeing everything from this point of view, see them as opportunities. The type of opportunity you view them as is entirely your own.
Some setbacks will allow you to test your grit while some will test your wit.
Other setbacks will force you to see things from a different perspective. Sometimes they require you to knuckle down and push through.
Still others might require you to ascend to the next level that you didn’t think you were capable of reaching.
I came to this realization the other day while playing a game of chess against an acquaintance on Twitter. After each of their moves, I’d look over the board and ask myself, “What opportunities are there for me to take?”
I didn’t lament that they just took one of my key pieces or they had just put my king in check. Rather, I focused on seeing what was open that I could turn to my advantage. As I settled into this mindset, my matches became less stressful and more enjoyable, like a puzzle I was trying to solve.
This opportunistic approach can be used for physical endeavors as well. I remember vividly one Taekwondo competition I competed in where I was pitted against someone who outclassed me. He was more experienced than I was, had longer legs (a significant advantage in a kicking style martial art), and was in better shape. As the fight dragged on, it was obvious I was going to lose.
Rather than say “Screw it.” and give up, I knuckled down and kept moving forward, throwing everything I had at my opponent. I lost the match, but friends from my school told me afterwards they had never seen me fight so well. Indeed, the match took my fighting to a new level that I didn’t know I had in me.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had captured an opportunity and it has stuck with me to this day.
“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.”
Now as I go through my day to day activities, I regularly ask myself “What opportunities are here for me to take?” This is a conscious effort on my part to embrace an abundance mindset. It doesn’t even need to be big events. It can be as simple as saying, “Okay, I’m home. All the chores are taken care of. The kids are in bed. Now what?”
Do I veg out to Netflix or do I take advantage of the time to do something more productive?
Time is an opportunity, one that so many people waste. Same goes with money.
My challenge to all you readers is to ask yourself at least three times each day what opportunities are being presented to you at that very moment and how you can capitalize on them.
You can take this little exercise a step further and keep a notepad with you to write them down so you can reflect on them later. Many times the answer isn’t immediately obvious and requires some time to reflect and brainstorm.
I’d also encourage you to put in the comments below a situation you’re presently in where you are struggling to capture the opportunity being presented. We have many knowledgeable men here and maybe, just maybe a fresh set of eyes can help you out.
Happy Monday, gentlemen. Seize the day!