I have a giant rock in the middle of my living-room. It nearly touches the walls on each side and extends to the ceiling. I can barely get around it. Hard to believe I didn't notice it when I bought the place but I have never been one for details.
It's a true embarrassment in front of my friends at dinner parties, but I just try to pretend it doesn't exist. If there was an 800-pound gorilla in the room, we couldn't see him for the rock.
One day I got tired of it, got so mad that I took a hammer and hit that rock as hard as I could. To my surprise, a small piece fell off onto the floor, so I tossed it outside into the driveway.
But then a thought occurred to me: With that little piece missing, my rock was a tiny bit smaller. Not enough to notice but there was a bit less rock and a bit more space. So I hit it again. Once again a small piece fell off. Once again I threw it out to the drive. This time it was more fun. I felt progress, a sense of accomplishment, the way you feel when you hit a giant rock in your living-room with a hammer.
For two years I hit that horrible monstrosity; each time a piece fell off. Each time I threw it outside, away from my living-room to join the others in the pile. Today it's completely gone and I can move around freely in my home. It's the way it should have always been. Unfortunately, I have a car I can't back out of my driveway but that is another issue.
Okay, I have a confession to make. This story is completely fabricated.
There was no rock, no hammer, no gorilla, and I don't have any friends. But there is a lesson here: Watch where you're throwing things.
Perhaps there is a second lesson. A problem that seems insurmountable can be overcome. Regardless of how ominous it appears, an obstacle is only impossible to conquer when you decide it's bigger than you.
There are three ways I've found to dismantle the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in life:
1. Determine what action reduces the problem even by a tiny amount.
A college degree is earned one page at a time. A record year in sales is accomplished one phone call at a time. A hundred pounds of excess weight is lost by angling the front end of the shopping cart toward the produce and away from the bundt cake. Take small steps in the right direction.
2. Take consistent action.
Have you ever considered the fortitude of a river, flowing with an unshakable confidence? When an object gets in its way, the river goes over it, around it, through it, and if necessary, it obliterates any opposing forces. If there is one thing an incessant botheration cannot tolerate, it's the daily assault on its very existence.
3. Be relentless.
Attitude is everything. A relentless attitude is persistence gone mad, like a train barreling through town at 100 miles per hour, without looking to the right or the left. It's very actions declare a message without saying a word, "I will arrive at my destination whether you like it or not." We have to tackle our problems with that sort of determination to win.
These principles are elementary; they're simple and effective. Now I said they were elementary, not easy. Sadly, most people give up prematurely. But will life be better if we give up? Or if we persist?
Remember, positive results take time.
I used to have this little black sign that sat on my desk, reaching out to me for a better perspective on the days I felt discouraged, the days I felt like I couldn't go on. These words, powerful but few, challenged me to get back on track. They asked a simple question, the same question I will ask you: "How bad do you want it?"