How to flip Obstacles into Opportunities?

Abhishek Shah
5 min readJul 18, 2016

When life gives you lemons, make some lemonade” is one of the favorite phrases that keep bouncing back on social media or rather the most popular version of it where people grab some Tequila and salt. Although I am not so big on clichés, I do strongly believe in the notion of this overused phrase.

The world as we know today has increasingly become unpredictable and if only achieving goals were easy then they have turned out to be even more difficult. There are always some kinds of obstacles that try to hinder the path even when you had it perfectly laid out. But sometimes we get so obsessed with these obstacles that we completely lose sight of our goals. Throughout our childhood, we have been taught to either avoid the unexpected or make efforts to overcome it. But as we step into the later stages of life where the problems are bigger than sharing toys with our siblings, things simply start to fall apart. We fret over several issues and blame everything and everyone without realizing that it is just the way of life.

The true essence of life is overcoming these obstacles as they yield in more experience and make us feel truly accomplished. I recollect the story of butterfly and a small boy who helps the butterfly come out of its cocoon without having it to struggle through the small gap. Although the butterfly gets free, its body is weak and feeble and it is not able to fly. What the boy had not realized that the struggle to break open the cocoon by itself was necessary for the wings to soak in life-giving fluids to be able to fly. Same is true for each one of us, where without struggling through and overcoming the problems we can never reach our goals.

While setbacks are a natural part of our lives, they do not need to stay that way and we can in fact overcome and flip the obstacles into opportunities. Here are some approaches that have been practiced by many great men and women to make the “lemonade” from the “lemons” that life gave them.

Change your Perspective

Most obstacles that we face are normally created by us because that is how we chose to look at them. Our perception and prioritization are what keeps us from doing what is needed to be done. It is easy to blame time, circumstances and other people but the important enemy here is your own thinking. If you think you don’t have time to exercise you will never really get any time but if you really decide to workout then you will see that there is always sometime in the day when you can do it irrespective of what your schedule is.

Positive Outlook

“The pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty” — Winston Churchill

I know it sounds too philosophical and unrealistic, but if you really want to get over with your problems then one of the ways to do is by having a positive outlook. We always view our obstacles negatively and fail to identify the positive element within it. If you have a terrible boss then it is an opportunity to fill up your resume and look for better jobs elsewhere while you take lessons from his/her faults. If you strive in the right direction then you can find good in everything.

Keep Moving

If you face a roadblock on the way to work, do you simply wait there or look for other routes that you can take? Don’t get intimidated by the hitches but be brave enough to make your way to your destination. The choice is yours whether you want to give up without even trying or work towards it to see if there is any solution.

Failure is a Teacher

“I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work” –Thomas Alva Edison

First time I baked a cake, it was hard as a rock. Yes, it was a failure as I had to throw it away but that taught me at what temperature I should NOT bake the cake. Failure is not bad unless you give up. Every time something goes wrong there are new possibilities that will help in resolving the problem. And it doesn’t matter if you can resolve it or not till the time you learn from your mistakes.

Follow the Course

To make our lives simpler we all live by the process. When you come across obstacles, don’t panic and just take a deep breath. Take the next best action that you deem appropriate and continue on the path to the next action. Don’t worry about your end result just yet. Take care of the issue at hand and then work your way with it to reach your goals.

Don’t Think Too Much

When you are unwell, do think about your sickness or do you seek doctor’s help so that you can recover fast? The common problem with facing obstacles is that we spend a lot of time thinking about how things were supposed to be rather than taking some action to fix things. You cannot get everything right in a go and will require patience to get things done.

So when things are not in your favor, don’t fret over it but think about how you can make things better. People, who are successful in their lives, learn not only to work with the factor of unexpected but they also take advantage of it. The big picture is to develop the ability to convert this unexpected into favorable situations. While you start taking action against your obstacles, remember that there is no such thing as problems, but there are only opportunities.

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Abhishek Shah

Nomad | Early Stage Investor | Wannabe Anthropologist | Technology Evangelist | Curious, Inquisitive & Experimental Entrepreneur