The Obstacle is the Way

Part 1: Perception

It’s not just: How can I think this is not so bad? No, it is how to will yourself to see that this must be good–an opportunity to gain a new foothold, move forward, or go in a better direction. Not ’Be positive” but learn to be ceaselessly creative and opportunistic. Not: This is not so bad But: I can make this good

Define perception?

It’s how we see and understand what occurs around us–and what we decide those events will mean. (Can make us stronger or weaker.) We will see things simply and straightforwardly, as they truly are–neither good nor bad. pg 11

pg 18 gives us a list of things to keep in mind when faced with a seemingly insurmountable obstacle.

Try to

  • Be objective
  • Control emotions and keep an even keel
  • Choose to see the good in the a situation
  • Steady our nerves
  • Ignore what disturbs or limits others
  • Place things in perspective
  • Revert to the present moment
  • Focus on what can be controlled

Where there any stories or chapters that resonated with you?

Where there any chapters that you need to share with your team/direct reports?

Control your emotions: Do I need to freak out about this? - pg31

Perspective has 2 definitions:

  1. Context: a sense of the larger picture of the world, not just what is immediately in front of us.
  2. Framing: an individual’s unique way of looking at the world, a way that interprets its events.

George Clooney blamed producers and directors, and the system. He shifted perspective for the casters directors, stating that finding the right candidate is card, and he was going them find the right one.

What are ways in your current team that need a perspective change, or are there team members that may need a perspective change?

What are disasters within our teams that we can turn into an opportunity?

How we interpret the world events, is our perspective.

Perception precedes action.

Part 2: Action

Define Action?

Directed action. Done with persistence, flexibility. Action requires courage, not brashness – Creative application and not bute force. ACt with deliberation, boldness and persistence.

Discipline of Action…. Greet our obstacles with

  • energy
  • persistence
  • coherent and deliberate process
  • iteration and resilience
  • pragmatism
  • strategic vision
  • craftiness and savvy
  • eye for opportunity and pivotal moments


Working at it Works | quitting is not an option

  • never in a hurry
  • never worried
  • never desperate
  • never stopping short

Follow the process not the prize

Think progress; not perfection.

Iteration - failure shows us the way, by showing us what isn’t the way!

Part 3: Will

Most Questions Posed in The Obstacle Is The Way

  • When you worry, what are you choosing not to see?
  • What are you missing because you chose worry over introspection, alertness or wisdom?
  • Does getting upset provide you with more options?
  • Does what happened keep you from acting with justice, generosity, self-control, sanity, prudence, honestly, humility, and straightforwardness?
  • Do you need to freak out about this?
  • Is our perspective truly giving us perspective or is it actually what’s causing the problem?
  • Is it up to you?
  • When we believe the obstacle more than the goal, which will inevitably triumph?
  • What if we regarded it as an opportunity rather than a disaster?
  • You’ve been dealt a bad hand, do you fold, or do you play for all you’ve got?
  • Can you respond with energy, persistence, coherent and deliberate process, iteration and resilience, pragmatism, strategic vision, craftiness and savvy, an eye for opportunity and pivotal moments?
  • Can this be a small start to building momentum?
  • Do you have the patience and persistence to try everything?
  • What went wrong, what can be improved, what am I missing?
  • Are you worrying about what will happen later instead of doing the right thing, right now?
  • How are you going to get around the rules that held you back?
  • How can you face a challenge indirectly?
  • Can you lean into your weakness and let the obstacle defeat itself?
  • Can this problem represent an opportunity for a solution that we have long been waiting for?
  • How can you prepare for none of it to work?
  • Can you prepare for more difficult times, accept what you cannot change, manage your expectations, persevere, learn to love your fate and what happens to you, protect your inner-self, submit to a greater cause, remind yourself of your own mortality?
  • Can you handle yourself if things suddenly got worse?
  • What can you be doing to prepare for failure?
  • How can failure be appropriately perceived, addressed, or endured?
  • What can these setbacks teach you?
  • How can this be what you get to do instead of what you want to do?
  • If even our own mortality can have some benefit, how dare you say that you cant derive some value form each and every obstacle you encounter?