How to Get out of Your Own Way (and Tackle Any Challenge)
Like in football, we want to tackle our challenges head on. We want to find solutions and be proud of how we resolve to meet our challenges at each stage of our lives. You care about the meaning of what you do. But we’re often too much in our heads. To tackle your challenges you must go beyond (or below) this mindset. How to get out of your own way is all about integrating the rest of the body. As much as it’s beneficial to approach your challenges analytically, it can also interfere with simple truths. It’s easy to get too caught up either trying to figure everything out or become too busy—that is, occupied but getting nowhere.
We can be busy, distracted, irritable, or just absent with how our life is unfolding today. It’s hard to create meaning in our pursuits, let alone to take a stand and meet our challenges when we’re not present. Present with the world and ourselves. Not just lost in our thoughts, time traveling. And I don’t mean to say that there’s no value in learning from the past, or imagining what the future could look like. But to tackle our challenges successfully, we necessarily need a more balanced approach to them.
Think about the following ways you can incorporate balance in your life:
- How can you appreciate more what you see with your eyes?
- What can you do with your voice differently?
- Could you enjoy listening more?
- Can you stop and appreciate a pleasant smell?
- How can you appreciate your sense of taste?
- How can your hands add more value?
We might not think much of our legs and arms because we’re constantly on auto-pilot. But what if you could no longer go on a walk? When was the last time you used your arms to hug your loved ones? And what do you think about food? Do you rush to it eat, or do you take some time to see it, smell it, and actually enjoy it? Our eyes are under-used, but overworked. What do you see outside: Just a bird? Just a tree? Or do you take interest and time to observe your environment? And think about how we use our ears: to wear earphones? When it comes to our nose, maybe we could enjoy more deep breaths. And with our hands—maybe we could create more, and maintain less.
Our body is the most valuable asset we have. We can use it or slowly lose it. Exercise, give it nutrition, drink water, take care of it. Engage your neglected senses. With a healthy body, we can tackle any challenge. These are simple truths we forget about. They’re not a substitute for getting things done—they’re a complement to. One of my favorite authors, Nassim Taleb, author of Antifragile, says he walks a mile and a half (body) for every paragraph he writes (mind). When you feel you’re reaching a stalemate, take a step back and give your self time to recover. To think outside of the box you need to be outside of the box too.
When you do something new and challenging, you might approach it from different angles. You can focus on the issues analytically or creatively. But parallel to using your whole brain, you must also focus on using your whole body. Try to avoid distraction and taking poor care of your health. Perhaps we should take our bodies (and thus our time) more seriously. Your body today is already worth more than all the wealth you could ever accumulate. It’s certainly as valuable as the mind. To get out of your own way and tackle any challenge, use and respect your body! You’ll become more creative and a better problem solver!
Juan F. Diaz
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