How often are the barriers that we find in our lives created in our minds and subsequently manifested in our actions?
The photo above is of a group of weeds that have pushed their way up through the asphalt on a jogging trail behind my house. This path was freshly paved one year ago and this summer I have watched the first, bold little weed buckle the surface and push its way up to the light that it seeks with such power. I run this path virtually every morning with my dog, Walt.
Lately, personal development has been on my mind a lot. When Walt and I run, well, jog is a more apt term, I listen to audiobooks on my iPod. Recently I have been listening to a tape series that I listened to early in my career running around the plains of the Dakotas and the lakes of Minnesota selling surgical instruments for ophthalmology and learning how to be of service to ophthalmologists. The program that I listened to while driving is called, “Lead the Field” and I am humbled by how apropos the teachings that it contains are today. The program was written and narrated by Earl Nightingale in 1956.
Mr. Nightingale talks about the magic word, how it has an effect on everything that we do and holds the power to help a person achieve whatever they set their mind to and are willing to serve others to obtain. The word is attitude.
It is while thinking about all of the topics that Mr. Nightingale covers on his excellent work that I began to notice these weeds buckling the pavement and growing. I thought to myself, if a seed from a weed can be trapped underneath asphalt where it has no light, no water, seemingly no chance to grow and still break through, why not me? What can be holding me back?
When I find myself facing what appear to be barriers, I like to ask myself these three questions:
- Is this barrier in my mind?
- How can I adjust my attitude to reach my goal?
- How do I need to think differently to be of service to others?
With an honest self-assesment, I mentally work through these three questions and once I have done this I am amazed at the clarity that ensues. With this new found vision I can then begin to make progress. Sometimes, it may be adjusting myself to a situation that is uncomfortable and persevering.
For me, working through with this self reflection and a maintaining a burning desire to be of service to others yields progress. Amazingly, what I once thought of as barriers begin to melt away like the snow in the Spring and what I see is opportunity.