Harrison Ford, as the iconic Indiana Jones, was irresistibly fit for a serial treasure hunter and college professor of archaeology. Decades later, fans from all over the world remain riveted by the sight of the revered star in his leather jacket, bullwhip and fedora escaping death yet again by bolting from a sudden whirlwind sequence of obstacles thrown in his path.
Although you may not be a Hollywood-caliber actor, you probably have more in common with Indiana Jones’s escapades than you think. The difference is that while Jones ran from obstacles thrown by an external enemy, your obstacles often are created by an internal adversary: your mind.
Ten to one, you think your mind is your greatest asset and ally. And most of the time it is. Yet, the biggest function of the mind is to keep us safe from mental, emotional and physical harm. It does so by throwing obstacles in our way to prevent us from experiencing perceived threats.
Dangers include facing possible challenges to our ideas, rejection and abandonment, or simply the anxiety that arises when we exceed the safety of our comfort zones. Generating fear, these risks fall into three essential categories, whereby the mind anticipates it will experience more negatives than positives, more loss than gain, or more pain than pleasure.
Here are five ways that mind-generated obstacles intended to keep you safe manifest themselves, yet end up hindering your progress and impeding success:
1. Not following your heart. If you could overcome only one obstacle, this one contains the highest strategic value. The reasons are threefold: a) maximum contentment comes from living a life that matters, and following your heart reveals what constitutes significance for you; b) your greatest success lies at the crossroads where inspiration and talent meet market need (to learn more read my article, The Triple Path to Your Success); and c) discovering a cause that’s worth living for creates a domino effect that knocks down all other barriers.
Although not following your heart keeps you safe from the unknown, it also impedes you from tapping into your inspiration. Whereas reason eclipses inspiration and poses limitations, inspiration is the driving force that leads to creativity and innovation by transcending boundaries.
2. Superimposing others values on yourself. This toxic stumbling block comes from comparing yourself to others and trying to live your life according to someone else’s values instead of living your own. Even though the mind’s intent is to keep you safe among the many, it obstructs success and the contentment rooted in honoring your true values.
3. Thinking you’re not enough. A popular and recurring mental hurdle is the notion that you are insufficiently smart, qualified, or talented in relation to other people or a specified pursuit. Although the perception of falling short protects you from challenge, it blocks growth and success.
4. Perceiving that the lack of a key element holds you back. This barrier is based on the conviction that something is missing, such as opportunities, money, time, or ideas. By providing an excuse for not taking action, this obstacle safeguards your well-being by avoiding exposure to risk. Yet inertia is the antithesis of progress, and ultimately success.
5. Experiencing selective blindness. The possibility of encountering overwhelming difficulties, problems or peril may prevent you from seeing opportunity, access, a talent, short cut or alternatives. Since you can’t act on what you don’t see, the self rests secure, to the detriment of your success.
Awareness of why your mind doesn’t want you to succeed allows you to create balance among the four parts of your being (e.g. mental, emotional, physical and spiritual) rather than letting your mind take over. The benefit of removing these obstacles is that a balanced approach to life leads to greater contentment, potential and quality of life that’s enough to make your heart sing. If you’d like to know how to release these obstacles and take a more balanced approach to your life, I invite you to contact me for more information.