• Riviera Insider editorial

When the obstacle becomes a miracle... Impossible ? No, miraculous!

When he gets his head above water, Michael knows that he has just won his 8th gold medal of the Beijing Olympics.

We are August 17, 2008 and Michael Phelps has just achieved the impossible, the unthinkable, the miracle ! Eight gold medals in eight races, including seven new world records and a new Olympic record ! All this in eight days time !

HOW MANY OBSTACLES DID MICHAEL ENCOUNTER before achieving this feat ? 10, 100, 1000 ? Probably more than that. Has he given up ? No.

Have you ever found yourself in front of a project that you knew was within your reach but the obstacles forced you to give up ? Purely rhetorical question. We have all experienced this more than once !

Yet the obstacle is necessary. It is the best way to progress. Without obstacles, we stagnate. Sending a rocket to the moon, curing once incurable diseases, writing the Nobel Prize-winning novel, all of this is not without obstacles. If everything were easy, comfortable, certain, we would not progress. To the collectivity as well as to the individual, the obstacle is necessary. Vital. And if we don't see any, let's get them!

The obstacle forces us to surpass ourselves and therefore to become a better version of ourselves. It is the breeding ground for our personal overcoming.

By overcoming, one by one, each of the obstacles that stood before him, Michael Phelps did nothing but surpass himself. If we have a business creation project, the wish to become an excellent speaker, to win a future competition, for sure, we will encounter obstacles. When we have exceeded them and have reached our goal, we will have become better: in expertise, in competence, in state of mind.

The problem is not the obstacle but the idea that we have of it.

The American-British lecturer, Simon Sinek, thus reminds us of the metaphor of the skier. If the coach keeps repeating to his ski champion : “focus on the trees, as soon as you see one, avoid it! ", it is certain that the skier, at best, will avoid them and, at worst, will pass very close or catch one ! On the other hand, the good coach will prefer to say: “focus on the path, on the track, on the tracks! »

In other words, we attract what we pay attention to. At the top of the Eiffel Tower, those who are afraid of emptiness are attracted by it. The others take advantage of this magical moment when they feel bigger, see further or admire the beauty of Parisian architecture.

The obstacle is sometimes real but the facility wants that sometimes it is only an excuse. “Impossible to undertake this project at my age! I am too young, or too old, or too penniless, or too inexperienced, or too lonely, or too much, or too much, or too much…”

Of course, there is no question of ignoring the obstacle, the difficulties, the sticks that can be put in our way. But by putting too much focus on it, we forget to think about the solutions, the possible paths, the opportunity to succeed.

In his book “The obstacle is the way”, the American marketer, Ryan Holiday relates the following anecdote.

“A week before the scheduled delivery of the first McIntosh computer, engineers told Steve Jobs that they could not meet the deadline. They explained that they needed fifteen more days. Jobs calmly explained that if the engineers could do it in a fortnight, they could do it in a week, that it didn't make much difference in such a short period. In addition, since they had made good progress and worked well, it was impossible not to deliver the product on January 16, as planned. The engineers got together and kept to the deadlines. The insistence of Steve Jobs had pushed them, once again, to go beyond what seemed possible to them. Focus on the passage rather than the obstacle.

"It's all very beautiful! you will tell me. “But how do I concretely overcome the obstacle and concentrate on the path."

I have three options for you and the advantage is that they can be combined.

The “SPS” option : the “Smallest Possible Steps”. Let's say you want to build a house. You have it in your head and know what it will look like. Yes, but here it is, just thinking about the red tape, the building permit that you might have to submit more than once, the architect who won't have the same idea of a "beautiful" house than you, the negotiations with the banker, the negotiations with the site manager, the sleepless nights that await you... You may give up on the idea before you even start.

This is where SPSs come in handy. Every day just take the smallest step possible to move forward in your project. That's just it. Nothing more like effort.

The second option : the “AQI” (yes, I like acronyms!). These are the “Imperfect Daily Actions”. Rather do something even if that action is imperfect rather than do nothing. In his book "Your time is infinite", Fabien Olicard, our national mentalist, summarizes this option with the formula "1 is better than 0". And this is how you will move forward in the realization of your dream, house, project! Act even if it may seem mediocre rather than remain paralyzed.

Finally, the third option (the list is not exhaustive) : start with the end in mind. Clearly, it is having such a real and powerful vision of your project when it is completed that you will be carried. For more efficiency, go until you feel this moment when you have succeeded. Imagine with your five senses: see, hear, smell, taste, touch! More than motivated, you will be engaged. You will no longer see the obstacles but the path.

My advice, experiment with these three options. One at a time.

To perceive the obstacle is to be vigilant. To commit to the path is to grow. For sure. The two go hand in hand. So whatever the obstacle, let's enjoy the journey. Because we too, like the Michael Phelps in our lives, can transform our impossible into a miracle !

The main thing to remember:

  • To perceive the obstacle is to be vigilant. To commit to the path is to grow.

  • The problem is not the obstacle but the idea that we have of it.

  • Three options to overcome the obstacle : “SPS”, “AQI” and “having the end in mind”.

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