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The obstacle is the path.

This is one of the first core principles I ever followed. It is one of my favorites.

I think about it, talk about it, and live it daily. In fact, in my entire management consulting business Extended Impact Management Group LLC, is built upon it. We uncover opportunities and deliver revenues.

I constantly find myself sharing concepts like…

  • Turn problems into solutions.
  • Be aware of the whole picture and see the details for success.
  • See opportunities in every obstacle you face.
  • Go through or around challenges.
  • Do the unexpected and flip the odds in your favor.
  • Find leverage to turn any disadvantage into your winning advantage.

Have you read Ryan Holiday’s New York Times bestseller The Obstacle is the Way – The timeless art of turning trials into Triumph. If not, I wholeheartedly recommend you get yourself a copy.

I am reading it again right now! It is an easy, yet powerful read. Ryan shares principles from the Stoics and discusses this principle in-depth. He breaks it down into disciplines - perception, action, and will.


Our actions may be impeded…but there can be no impeding our intentions or dispositions. Because we can accommodate and adapt. The mind adapts and converts to its own purpose the obstacle to our acting. The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” - Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius said, we can see every obstacle as an opportunity…an opportunity to practice a virtue: patience, courage, humility, resourcefulness, reason, justice, and creativity.

It is a gift! An opportunity to step out of your comfort zone, learn, grow, and innovate.


Here are 7 quick thoughts you may want to ponder along your journey.

Unlock Your Growth Mindset - Understand the transformative power of obstacles and shape a resilient mindset.

"What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger?" This is a profound truth. When obstacles loom large on our path, many become fearful. Instead, reframe the situation and use it to force the adoption of a growth mindset.

Challenges are NOT roadblocks. Shift your mindset. Be present. Get unstuck. Think differently. And take action to achieve the miraculous.

Obstacles present themselves constantly on your journey. Don’t get discouraged and quit. Embrace each problem and open yourself to its endless possibilities. Pave your way to unprecedented success.


Gain Efficiency through Focus - Face adversity and leverage 80/20 principles to prioritize efforts and maximize your outcomes.

The world can be a noisy place. A little confusing and filled with a line-up of distractions and competing priorities. Apply the 80/20 principle the obstacle is the path. It can be our beacon of light.

This principle also reminds us to focus our efforts on tasks that yield the greatest results. Don’t spread yourself too thin by trying to tackle every challenge head-on. It may be best to take what you can from each challenge, then go around it, through it, or over it.

You may find that a few stubborn problems will carry the most significant opportunities. Focus here. Work smarter, not harder. Maximize your efforts. And make every action count BIG.


Adapt and Innovate - Spur creativity and innovation and drive progress and breakthroughs.

Obstacles can spark creativity and innovation. They force us to think outside the box…to come up with creative solutions and processes to overcome the challenges we’re facing.

Having the capacity to adapt and innovate is a superpower. It will set you apart from your competitors and allow you to thrive in ever-changing environments.

Embrace each obstacle as an opportunity to innovate; an opportunity to disrupt; and an opportunity to transform.


Build Grit and Resilience - Cultivate perseverance, overcome obstacles, and thrive.

The strongest steel is forged in the hottest fire.” Our journey will not be in a straight line, nor will it always be smooth sailing.

The storms you weather along the way will make you stronger. You can choose to crumble under the pressure or rise to the occasion.

Resilience is invaluable. It allows you to bounce back from setbacks, stronger and better than ever. You are ready to continue to move forward, no matter what other challenges are put in your way.


Turn Setbacks into Opportunities - Use as steppingstones for growth and development.

Many people view obstacles as dire problems or terminal setbacks. But they can also be viewed as “opportunities in disguise.

When one door closes, another one opens.” Don’t dwell on what went wrong. Focus on what you can learn from the experience and how you can use this knowledge to your advantage.

Reframe obstacles as opportunities. “Do the right thing right.” And use setbacks as your steppingstones to make your vision a reality.


Embrace Uncertainty - Develop agility to navigate uncertain terrain and turn your challenges into advantages.

Uncertainty and change are constant. Many fear the unknown, the uncomfortable. Persevere!

Welcome change and embrace uncertainty head-on. Obstacles force us to step out of our comfort zone and perceive things differently. You can then go on the offensive and be your true creative self.

Embrace uncertainty to stay ahead of the curve. You can thrive in unpredictable environments. You can tackle things that are bigger than yourself. You can turn obstacles into opportunities for growth and innovation.


Empower Self-Discovery - Be grateful for obstacles and discover your strengths, weaknesses, and untapped potential.

Profoundly, and unexpectedly, the obstacle is the path principle is our journey to self-discovery. Challenges, problems, and issues force us to confront our strengths, weaknesses, and deepest motivations and desires.

Your journey of self-discovery is transformative. “Build your inner citadel.” And you can uncover your true potential and unlock new levels of success you never thought possible.

Embrace each obstacle on your journey as a gift. It is an opportunity for you to become the best version of yourself both personally and professionally…and make our world a little better for others.