Overcoming Difficulty

Hitting a curveball…Public Speaking….Solving a geometry problem…Losing Weight…And the list goes on…

All of us face difficult challenges in our life and that’s not likely to change any time soon. Unfortunately, all too often we allow the “illusion” of difficulty to discourage us, which in turn leads to feelings of frustration, causes us to complain, and makes us just want to give up. But what if there was a ‘system’ that would allow us to consistently overcome our difficult challenges?

The good new is that such a system exists and more importantly YOU already possess the basic skills necessary to use this system. So what are those skills?

The Power of Your Mind – it all starts here. If you believe something is too difficult, then you’re setting yourself up for failure before you even begin. So why not change your mindset? The fact is that Difficulty really is just an illusion because “everything is difficult until it becomes easy.“(1) When you were a baby, you couldn’t walk; there was a time as a kid when you didn’t know how to tie your shoes or add 2+2; and once upon a time you didn’t even know how to read. But you found a way to overcome each of those obstacles, didn’t you? That’s because when you were a kid you didn’t let your mind discourage you because you didn’t know any better — you simply kept trying and believing. Maybe it’s time to rediscover that belief in yourself?

The Power of Preparation – when you invest the time to build a solid foundation, you provide yourself with the building blocks needed to overcome both simple and complex challenges. You wanna hit that curveball? Then learn (and practice!) the basics of hitting: having a balanced stance, how to swing the bat correctly, and of course watching the ball all the way to the bat. These simple things are easy to overlook but critical to success. Sadly one of the biggest fundamentals of hitting that is rarely even taught nowadays (at any level) is how to BUNT a baseball (a skill that absolutely requires you to learn how to watch the ball hit the bat in order to succeed) – with less time devoted to practice because of the pressures of immediate competition, coaches tend to take shortcuts on fundamentals like bunting, proper baserunning, and even using two hands to catch. That’s a shame because the loss of these basic skills in a player’s ‘talent foundation’ leads to problems later. Don’t let this happen to you. Prepare well.

Bonus for Baseball fans – hear secrets from one of the greatest hitters of all time TED WILLIAMS:

The Power of Simplifying Things – ANY challenge that appears complicated can be simplified — the key is to break it down into smaller “bite sized” chunks so you can take a step by step approach. Wanna lose weight? Starving yourself (aka trying to do it all at once) rarely works. Instead come up with a plan – a gradual, methodical process that leads to your weight loss goal over time and results in a lifestyle change so your bad eating habits don’t rebound later. Your steps may include portion control, reducing some of your junk food, adding in some physical activity, working with a partner or coach for motivation, etc. More steps give you more opportunities to celebrate success, which in turn makes you feel better about yourself and inspires you to keep going. Before you know it, you’ll reach your goals.

The Power of Advice – “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened.”(2) There is no need to try to solve every problem by yourself. If someone else has already invented the wheel, then use their wisdom and move on. Don’t waste time because your pride won’t allow you to ask for help. Need to solve the Pythagorean Theorem for your geometry class? If you don’t understand the math text, seek guidance from your teacher, tutor, fellow students or even sources like The Khan Academy or YouTube – the answers are out there, all you have to do is ask.

The Power of Action – The first step in overcoming any challenge is to take action. President Teddy Roosevelt said, “Do what you can, with what you have, wherever you are.” Success guru Tony Robbins often talks about the importance of ‘taking massive, determined action’ as the key to achievement. The message is clear – you can’t get anything done unless you “Just DO it.” Whatever your goal, don’t wait, get started by taking action (any action) today – you’ll be one step closer to your goal. Afraid of public speaking? Here’s your first step: stand in front of a mirror and read a book. Next time, casually talk to yourself in that same mirror. Then write a few notes on a card and use that to speak to the mirror. Then try it live with your pet. Then one friend. Then two. And so on. In no time at all, you’ll be delivering a key note address to a group of 500!

Is life difficult? Yes. But can you overcome any challenge? Yes, yes, and double-yes!

I believe you can do it. Now it’s time for you to believe in yourself as well.

I’ll leave you with one final thought – sadly most people won’t take the time to overcome their difficulties. But when you do, you’ll be giving yourself a a competitive advantage – once you can hit that curveball, or deliver a good speech, or get your weight under control, or solve that math problem, you’ll make yourself more valuable to your team, your company, and yourself. As Albert Einstein said, “In the middle of difficulty, lies OPPORTUNITY.”


1) Dan Millman, Body Mind Mastery

2) The Gospel of Matthew, 7:7-9


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