A Beginner's Guide to Overcoming Any Obstacle in Life
Just recently, I went back to my planning book to see what it is I could be working on in my free time so as to better myself through learning or refining a new skill. I ended up deciding that in order to be successful in my long-term goals, the skill I need to be refining is not my ability to write, but my illustration skills. This step-by-step process really sees me taking leaps and bounds in life, and I hope it assists you as well.
Step 1: Choose an Obstacle
Surprisingly, step one seems to be the hardest for most individuals, and the same individuals who find it the hardest are the ones who don't realize this is the step they're getting stuck on! Too many people mull over a myriad of obstacles in their head, want to tackle every single one, realize they do not have the time for them all, then get discouraged that they can't be perfect like the people they see succeeding online or on reality television shows. Slow down, choose one obstacle with one end goal.
We'd all love to charge headlong into a tsunami of obstacles and overcome it with ease, but what those people succeeding online and on reality television don't show us are their many years of planning and practicing.
The obstacle I've chosen to overcome is improving my illustration skills and I'll be using this as an example throughout this article.
Step 2: Plan Your Approach
Very rarely is any worthwhile obstacle conquered without a solid plan. You wouldn't go out to the biggest mountain you can find, set a beeline straight to the top, and then start charging up said mountain. No, you'd first want to know what you need to climb the mountain, perhaps get someone experienced who could guide you, find a trailhead, and slowly test your ability to climb the mountain. Though not always, charging an obstacle without a solid plan is a sure-fire way to experience catastrophic failure.
In planning my approach to increasing my illustration skills, I went to the safest and cheapest place I could to get some professional tips on how to do so, Youtube. I found a wonderful Youtube channel called Jazza, which is hosted by a man who I think calls himself Jazza (I really can't stand his personality so I half-listen), and though I find his personality insufferable, he offers so many invaluable, easy to understand tips and tricks on improving your illustration abilities. On top of those tips and tricks, he also offers suggestions as to the tools I will need for improving.
Step 3: Gather Your Tools
Gathering your tools can be pretty daunting, not so much the act of it, but because of the financial aspect that a tool collection can require of you. Don't be discouraged by the dollar signs if you are taking on a pricey endeavor, this just means it is time to head back to step two and create a budget and timeline for yourself. In gathering your tools, I highly advise you stick to what you know and don't try using or buying equipment you aren't qualified for at top-dollar. Experts need refined, top-dollar equipment so as to be precise and near-perfect, and if you aren't to that point you don't need to be buying that six-thousand dollar, gas-powered thingamajig.
In my pursuit of higher illustration skills I went straight over to amazon and looked at all the available tools like shading pencils, charcoal sets, specialized sketching paper, stencils... I was overwhelmed quite quickly by all the choices and prices that ranged from a few bucks to thousands of dollars. Being skilled, but an amateur, I opted for simplicity with a , and a very low-end set of mechanical sketching pencils. My most important consideration, aside from frugality, was that there was no need to break the bank for something I may give up on or lose interest in. simple sketch pad
Step 4: Attack the Obstacle
This is probably the hardest step for those of us who have made it this far. We've spent all this time hyping ourselves up, we've made all these plans and formed expectations, and spent the money on the tools. Now is when we begin to think, "Oh God, what have I gotten myself into?!" and the thoughts of doubt start to creep in.
It is okay to doubt yourself, that is normal when you take on something difficult or new! Be realistic with yourself, set fair expectations, and don't demand expert production out of yourself after the first few attempts. The proper development of an outcome can take an entire lifetime, but the important thing is that you're attacking that obstacle while others are sitting on their lazy butts!
I'm currently attacking my illustration endeavors by, yes, illustrating! Within the first twenty minutes I was disinterested and uninspired, but that did not deter me from continuing. Youtube tutorials from the previously mentioned channel playing in the background, scribbling away, and though I'm bored, I'm already seeing improvement!
Step 5: Temporary Failure
Failure is an unavoidable component in every endeavor, but we need to take the time to recognize that most, if not all failures outside of your death, are temporary. The failure to succeed can be ultimately discouraging, but you need to stop being so hard on yourself and realize that failure is a step toward success, not away from it. Every failure is a chance to learn from your actions, and in learning that oft-harsh lesson you are now able to approach the obstacle with a newfound wisdom that will see you surpassing your last attempt more often than not.
My biggest failure in pursuing better illustration skill is my incessant need for perfection. If I don't feel like everything I do is gaining me progress by leaps and bounds, I start to hate myself and beat myself down. Taking the time to show myself some respect, self-love, and seeking support from others can really set me back on the right track in my own mind.
Are you ready to take on every obstacle that comes your way?
Final Step: Every Step Is Success
The last step is a step that you need to incorporate into every step that was listed previously, and could be safely called the most important step of them all. Realize that every step you take, whether it be forward or back, is overcoming an obstacle that you may not have even known was there. In recognizing these little obstacles, the obstacles that many never even reach so as to overcome them, these obstacles that you are setting yourself apart from the crowd by overcoming, you will quickly learn to self-motivate and self-love. It is within these moments of profound introspective realizations that inspiration will come easy, and you can create this inspiration at will if you so desire it.
Though it will take a lot of practice, a lot of time, and even more dedication on your part, I really hope to see and hear about you overcoming every obstacle that comes your way!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.