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Overcoming Obstacles: How to Turn a Mountain into a Molehill

overcoming obstacles

Believe it or not, how you handle things impacts its outcome. How you think about something can determine if it will be a small problem or a huge debacle.

Whenever I would try something with negative thoughts in tow and it did not work, my father would say, "It works for you, by not working."

Of course, at first when I heard it I didn't understand. But as I got older it made perfect sense.

What he was saying, in so few words, was that because I handled it in such a negative manner, because I expected it to fail, it did.

It did what I expected. That's why it didn't work out, because I didn't want it to.

I was proven right. It’s like when something bad happens, and you say to yourself “I knew that was going to happen.” You knew because you expected.

When you begin things with a negative thoughts you're creating obstacles right there, if you have not already killed the process right out the gate.

You've cancelled out any motivation and therefore can't even get started. Why even bother, you've convinced yourself that there is no point.

Changing how you think about it is the difference between never getting anything done and being successful every time. Having happy thoughts about your goals will get you going, and keep you on track.

The Benefits of Worrying

There aren't any. Sure, it could make you aware of potential challenges but that's not really worrying, that's preparing.

Worrying is thinking about those things and focusing on them, not letting go and completely blocking out positive outcomes.

Worrying just takes up your time and mental space. It's not productive at all. The only thing it does is increase your stress levels and makes you crazy.

Things happen for a reason and always seem to come together in the end. You have to know this to be able to maintain the positive attitude you need for success.

At first it can be hard, I know I'm realist myself and still struggle from time to time. Failure is a possible outcome, but so is success so why not focus on that. After all it’s more beneficial for you.

Consider all the time you've spent worrying in the past about something bad happening. Using an example of when that unfortunate event happened, were you completely prepared to take it on?

No, because didn't spend a single minute thinking about how you would put out the fire. So when it happened, you knew it would happen, but you still didn't know how to handle it. So in the end all the time you spent worrying was wasted. It served you no purpose.

Well there is probably one thing you accomplished, you distracted yourself. Worrying takes you out of the current moment to put you in a bad place. Unfortunately, it results in lack of positive action and stagnation.

Challenges Will Occur

I'm not saying the unexpected doesn't happen, because it does. Challenges are a normal part of life, to acknowledge that doesn't mean you need to focus on them completely.

If you think about it you deal with challenges daily, just of different proportions. Some are small, some are major but they are all obstacles you have to overcome to get something accomplished.

In life challenges are always going to arise but you have to believe that you can conquer them. You probably deal with challenges on a daily basis, you work through them. You've done it in the past and you can do it again.

With a positive attitude, overcoming obstacles can simply become an exercise in ability.

Learn From It

I'm a firm believer that there is something to be gained from every experience. It can be an eye-opening life lesson or a simple tip on how to handle something in the future.

Recognizing this gives you the opportunity to grow and improve. As your knowledge increases your confidence will also begin to blossom, just another reason to look on the bright side.

Changing your way of thinking can be a challenge itself. Follow these steps to shift your mind to happy thoughts:

1. Anticipate your outcome

Instead of thinking about all the possibilities, focus on the outcome you want to happen. Whatever your goal is, believe that it will happen the best way possible.

Every now and then, especially in the face of difficulty, you might start thinking about the “what ifs” but you have to overcome them. Simply shift your focus when you find yourself heading down that path. Instead, start thinking about something positive.

For instance, if your goal has been achieved by someone else, perhaps your mentor or idol, focus on that. They did it, so you can too. Or you could change your thoughts completely by thinking about something unrelated that makes you happy.

2. Do something, now

You may have a big goal that could take time to achieve, it may even scare you just thinking about it, but that shouldn't hold you back. If they scare you, if you have a fear of failure then your goal is probably taking you somewhere you've never been before.

Just because it's new to you doesn't mean you cannot do it. Break your goal down to smaller segments and tackle one immediately. Once you complete that you'll have the momentum and confidence to keep going.

Keeping your mind on your desired outcome will also keep you on track and leave little time to play the “what if” game.

3. Learn the lesson

Again, everyday life has its challenges, so the path to your goal will not be too different. Remember that everything happens for a reason and there is something to be gained.

Everything will work out as planned. A slight hiccup could even aid the process in a way you may not be able to appreciate until later.

4. Write it out

Perform a brain dump. It’s great because it get things out of your head and reduces stress. Writing things down sharpens focus, makes it real and easier to remember. No more having to stress about the thing you had to do first or the great idea you had but can't recall.

Write out your personal goals, steps to achievement, thoughts and even your fears. Writing can be a good way to vent, especially with things you don't want to share with other people.

But again, don't focus on the negative, write about the positive as well. Feel free to list your accomplishments and mark things off of your to do list. Crossing things off is solid proof you’re moving forward.

The weight will be lifted and clarity will be gained.

When I began to concentrate on positive aspects, things just seemed to work out. Even things that seemed difficult at first, it became easier for me to come up with a solution.

Happy thoughts put your mind in a positive place, transforming it into an incredible tool. When you believe that there is a solution, your mind will find it. When you think there isn’t your mind doesn’t bother.

Think about how things have worked out for you in the past. When you were faced with a challenge, recall how you handled it and the result when you had an positive attitude versus a negative one. Consider how much better things could've went if you had a positive attitude the whole time.

Keeping your mind in a positive place opens up possibilities, it helps your mind find the best way to conquer challenges. Being able to efficiently move forward makes life easier and gives you the opportunity to enjoy it.

This small fix can produce powerful results and it's all a matter of choice.


And you…

How do you think your frame of mind impact your outcome?

Looking back, can you remember a time when you made things worse than they really were?



About Lea

Lea is a certified life coach, foodie and lifehack expert. Don’t end up like the millions of people who gave up on their dreams, get unstuck and to the next level. Take the eye-opening Live Your Dreams course now to get moving!

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  • Worrying is a distraction – how true. It’s hard to get over though, especially for some people. My dad is a huge worrier and some of that rubbed off on me – although I wonder how much of it can be genetic since it runs through a lot of extended family too. But, yeah, it’s generally a waste of time and effort. yeah, it’s good to be prepared, but bad when you focus all your time and effort on “what might happen”. That’s why I like travel so much. You can’t predict what’s going to happen and it forces you to get into the flow. In a way, it’s therapy for me to get over my worrying tendancy.

    • Lea

      When something is that embedded in you, like worrying all the time, it can be hard to overcome. But realizing it is very necessary can help get you started.

      Glad you found a way to address your worrying tendancy. Thanks for sharing that strategy. Traveling is a good way to shift your focus.


  • Hi, Lea,

    What a great topic of discussion! πŸ™‚ Due to the fact that I’m a Christian, I’ve had some encouragement in this area, and really think that age and experience helps learning to achieve this as well.

    I definitely believe that there is a purpose for everything that happens in life, and that we can learn through all good and bad things in life.

    WOW – You really threw me for a loop there for a minute! Your subheading The Benefits of Worrying had me shaking my head, in disagreement.

    Then I read past the subheading to what you shared, and I couldn’t agree more. πŸ™‚ Worry has no benefit, and can cause a lot of stress, anxiety and depression also.

    Learning from the difficult things we face is such a wonderful plus to the whole process, and we might be able to help someone else along the way who goes through the same thing.

    Sometimes we know the purpose of what we go through, and sometimes it remains a mystery, but always some good comes from it some how, some way.

    Thanks for sharing such a thought-provoking article, Lea.

    Talk soon,

    • Lea

      Hi Carol,

      I completely agree with you, everything has a purpose and theres always something to be gained.

      Ha ha, gotta make sure you’re staying with me. It funny because some people actually do think worrying is worthwild.

      I typically find that when I can’t determine the purpose as it happens, later on it reveals it self. Eventually it all makes sense.

      Thanks for commenting Carol. Have a nice day.


  • Hey Lea,

    I really resonated with your post Lea. I like the order you put in shifting your mind to happy thoughts. But one thing I would say that I have lost “touch” of was anticipating the outcome. Yes there are challenges, and there are times where I can be so negative, but if I can expect the outcome to come, I think I can be open to what would help me to reach the outcome I want no matter what obstacles get in the way.

    But one thing I learned throughout the years is it’s really all about balance. You can be happy, but don’t be so naive that you overlook what can help you. You can be negative but don’t get to the point to where you’re limiting your potention. When you can balance these two, you become a real realist and i believe this is real blissful thinking.

    Thanks for sharing Lea! I hope you have a great weekend!

    • Lea

      Hi Sherman,

      I see that you mean. I can definitely acknowledge that something may not go according to plan, yet still be optimistic enough to turn it around.

      Your balance point is very valid. By your definition I think I’m a real realist. I try to be authentic without being overly dramatic πŸ™‚

      Thanks for commenting Sherman. Enjoy your weekend as well!


  • This is a great post about an important topic. It’s my main weakness, sometimes falling into the habit of focusing too much on a setback or frustration. One of the practices I’ve found helpful recently is taking time each morning to be grateful for specific things I’m glad I have in my life. It’s like an inocculation against the challenges I may face that day. It keeps my mood more resilient to negativity.

    • Lea

      Hey Micah – I now do the same. As I go through my morning routine, I acknowledge all the good things, in that moment and outside of it. I think doing that has really helped. It puts my mind in a positive place and like you said makes me more resilient and also focused. I swear my day ends up better.

  • Junie

    Hi Lea,

    This is a brilliant post. I used to be so negative and my life was a reflection of all the bad things I thought. I always imagined the worse scenario, especially in relationships, and my relationships were loaded with problems.

    I’m not saying it was purely my thoughts, but looking back now I can see that they played a big part. Because I was so negative, I spent a lot of time feeling moody. The effect of that was that my ex partners reacted negatively which caused more problems.

    Anyway, I loved all the points you gave. Thanks for sharing another great post. πŸ™‚

    • Lea

      Hey June,

      Thanks, I’m glad you thought so! Omg, I used to do that too. The worse possible thing would always pop into my mind and I couldn’t help but focus on it. Like there was no other possibility.

      Thanks you so much for sharing your experience πŸ™‚


  • Lovely post Lea..It is completely upon us whether to see a problem as a mountain or a molehill. Instead of creating a sympathetic route, we must face all problems in a grand manner. I am also trying to slow down my freaking thoughts to allow a stable and peaceful inner living.

    • Lea

      Thanks Yatin. How you handle it depends on how big it will turn out. Once you’re in a productive head space you can knock any mountain down. Thanks for sharing your experience.


  • I like your father’s statement – I’ll have to remember that!
    I think that not only is this true of specific problems, but it’s also true of the general feeling of our life. When we see ourselves as stressed out and constantly hurried, we’ll tend to feel that way a lot. I think one of the biggest cures for stress is to simply change our mindset and tell ourselves we’re really not that stressed.

    • Lea

      Please do! It’s very profound although I didn’t get it at first, definitely words to live by now.

      I see what you mean. In fact when I feel hurried I try to slow things down, even just take a minute to regroup. I feel like that helps me to respond better and eliminate inhibiting stress.

  • Hi Lea,
    I’m like you I’m a stronger believer that we can learn something positive from every situation. The key to it is simple: Look for it. The title of this post really got my attention because I’m so use to turning molehills into mountains. πŸ˜€
    For years people have been trying to get me to write a journal. I’m like man that’s some girl stuff. Then one day I tried it and I have never been the same.
    There was some much suppressed feeling I had. And what I really found out through writing was that they had a lot to do with how I reacted to life. No wonder I was turning molehills into mountains.
    It’s important we learn to respond to life in a health way and they tips you gave us here is a great place to start.

    • Lea

      Hey Vernon,

      Exactly, in order to find the lesson you have to be open to it, not soley focusing on the bad.

      I’m glad the title got your attention, that’s exactly what I was looking to do since many people do the very same thing, turn molehills into mountains.

      It’s good that you were able to turn your perspective on journals around. I can admit the idea of them initially to me sound like more work. But you can learn a lot about yourself from it, as you did.

      I’m so happy you agree. Thanks for your feedback, I appreciate it.


  • First of all – awesome title Lea.

    I agree with challenge-preparation. In fact, expecting challenges to occur and maybe – looking out or them can help innoculate us against their stopping power. In any case, I think your strategies of taking immediate action and acquiring new problem solving tools are spot on.

    I use writing – I imagine – in a similar manner to you. Write things out to get outside my head, and then as quickly as possible get back to action.

    Keep up the awesome work πŸ™‚

    • Lea

      Hi AJ,

      Thanks, I like to grab your attention πŸ™‚ I’m glad you agree with my strategies.

      I love that strategy. Having all kinds of different thoughts can be so distracting. Writing them down really does help you effective move on. Nice to see we’re on the same page with that.

      Thanks much and thanks for commenting.


  • Hi Lea
    Great post. I loved what you said about something to be gained from every experience. If we can accept the premise that we are always moving towards what we want, once we have decided what that is exactly, we will come to see everything ‘unwanted’ is just part of that path as it was there to show us where we still may have come blocks, or clarify our vision by allowing us to get clearer on what we want by having experienced something we didnt.

    • Lea

      Hi Kelli,

      Thanks so much.

      That’s a good point. I can honestly say that experiencing something undesireable has helped me hone in what I really want. I find that this happens particularly when it’s something that I’m unfamiliar with.

      Thanks for sharing.


  • Uplifting post Lea πŸ™‚

    Worry is the biggest killer among corporate citizens nowadays and we can see why. It slowly constricts the mind and steals away its ability of giving clear direction!

    As you said ACT NOW! Most people get paralyzed by challenges when action is the strategy that they ought to follow! You have captured the topic really well πŸ™‚

    Have an awesome week ahead πŸ™‚



    • Lea

      Thanks Nikshep.

      Exactly!. It truly robs your ability to make things happen in your favor.

      Yes! You have to do something, just allowing it to happen to you won’t change things. You have to change things.

      Enjoy your week also πŸ™‚


  • Hi Lea,

    Wonderful post indeed πŸ™‚

    Nothing works better than thinking positive, and though we all have our down times, that is but natural, being humans – it takes a split of a second to turn over and start thinking positive! This is tried, tested, and I know it works πŸ™‚

    You are right, challenges will occur as they are part of life, and a life without challenges, isn’t worth the while. But we don’t have to worry or fear those obstacles, instead, overcome them by taking them up, one at a time and learn from them. I agree about the writing it down, but writing positive thoughts, with the goals you want to achieve, and going after them.

    Thanks for sharing these with us, and as always, good to see the Ahaians in full force here. Have a nice week ahead πŸ™‚

    • Lea

      Hey Harleena!

      Thanks so much!!

      Yes, we need to handle our challenges with a positive outlook so we can quickly put them behind us. I like to write down my goals also. I find that it makes me clarify them, which makes them easier to achieve.

      Thanks for the comment. Yes, the Ahaians are a great group πŸ™‚


  • Hi Lea

    It is strange that I was just saying the same thing in my blog about challenges and you go way deeper than I did. This post is great and I agree with the point you have raised about challenges and how we react to them.

    As long as we place a negative expectation on any challenge, we will never succeed. We just have to believe in ourselves and face every challenge like a problem solver rather than a problem sucker.

    Love your points about how to deal with challenges. Thanks for sharing.

    • Lea

      Hi Ikechi,

      Oh, that’s funny. Great mind think alike I guess πŸ™‚

      Exactly. If you concede to defeat from the start you won’t give it much effort to turn things around. You have to tell yourself that you can improve things, then you will.

      Thanks for the comment, much appreciated.


  • Hi Lea,

    Really important post here with some great points raised.

    If you do have a negative approach to something or you do it, but subconsciously think it’s not going to work. Guess what? It won’t work out.

    In situations like that, that’s when we have to change ourselves and think positively about a situation. Even something simple like anticipating the outcome can work wonders for you.

    I like your point about writing it out.

    That seems like a pretty good exercise to try and it seems like it can be very helpful. Thanks for this post. Have a great day.

    – Andrew

    • Lea

      Hi Andrew,

      Yes, antticipating your desired outcome will put your mind in the right place, allowing you to perform the way you need to to succeed.

      You should give it a try Andrew. I just to try to keep things bottled up in my head but it just made things more stressful. It really does help.


  • Ajay Pai Aj

    HI Lea! Agree to the point of ‘writing it out’. When we write it out, we are documenting Our personal goals subconsciously in our mind/ thoughts and we ae constantly on toes to make it happen.
    One has to experience the power of ‘writing it out’ by following such a simple yet powerful tool.
    Thanks for the share, Lea.

    • Lea

      Hi Ajay,

      I’m glad you agree. Whether you’re purging something or just documenting your goals I think it helps a ton to get it out. I find it especially helpful with my goals. It allows me to be clear and maintain that clarity, which is essential to achievement.

      A powerful tool indeed. Thanks for commenting.