Obstacles are a type of challenge, often psychological in nature. Obstacles cause an opponent to change or alter something in its path. They are also known as reversals, setbacks, hindrances. The dictionary definition of the word obstacle is "A difficult problem to overcome or avoid."
An obstacle is simply an object, situation or thing that causes an opponent to alter something in its path. Different categories of obstacles consist of economic, technical, cultural, political, physiological, technical and social. The type of obstacles a person faces depends on the age, culture, experience, motivation and strengths of the opponent. Obstacles are designed to test the strength, knowledge, and courage of a person or group. Obstacles help in the development of the human spirit and enable us to strive for greater heights.
How do we take control of personal obstacles? We must first realize that no one can eliminate their obstacles, rather everyone can choose how to react to them. We must first recognize that we have the power to respond and then decide how best to respond. The power to act and the ability to take control are the fundamental building blocks of our individual and collective freedom.
Let's use the IQ Matrix as an example. The Matrix consists of two poles, (a negative and a positive pole) each representing a situation, thought process or behavior. The direction of the flow of the Matrix can be changed by the choice of one of the poles. If the situation occurs where the obstacle stops the flow of the Matrix, the individual must first take control of their own mind by re-assessing their beliefs, values and priorities in order to align their actions with the new direction of their life. If the obstacle allows the flow, then the individual must identify their strengths in order to use their strengths to propel themselves in the desired direction.
The second aspect of the Matrix is the presence of an opposing, yet complementary pole. The presence of the opposing pole can be identified as the cause of the inefficiency in which we find ourselves. By applying effective questions we can help to overcome life's obstacles. These questions can be, "What is preventing me from becoming successful?" or "How can I improve my skills to become more effective in this particular area?"
The third aspect of the Matrix is our relationships with others. In order to effectively work toward our objectives in any given circumstance, we must feel connected to the people and places in our lives. Therefore it becomes vitally important to engage in relationship-building activities to build relationships within our work environments. This will strengthen our relationships to those who are closest to us. In addition, the emotional support provided to those in our lives can also support us in our efforts to overcome social obstacles.
The fourth aspect of the Matrix is what I call the Peripheral axis. The Peripheral axis is where personal obstacles prevent us from pursuing our objectives. These obstructions come in the forms of environmental, interpersonal, cultural, and psychological factors. These factors are not so much caused by others, but by our own choices. To move beyond the obstacles in our lives, we must dwell upon these impediments and find ways to deal with them.
When we apply these four aspects of the Matrix to the prior knowledge of what obstacles we need to overcome, we have developed a mental model of the problem or goal that we need to address. It becomes our homework guide to move toward our objectives. With this mental map on hand, it becomes easy to ask, "What can I do to help me move forward in my work in this area," or "what are my optimal ways to move through this challenge in my work?"