Obstacles vs. Distractions
It’s going down this week! I am going to get up early and hit the gym. I plan to go three times this week because I need to lose a few pounds before my next physical. I pack my workout bag the night before. My alarm goes off and I quickly get up. I brush my teeth, get dressed and proceed to grab my car keys. Before I can open the door I hear “Mommy, where are you?” Oh my goodness! My five-year-old son is awake and looking for me. Do I pretend to not hear him and sneak out the back door? Or do I answer him and run the risk of not going to workout this morning? Decisions. Decisions.
Obstacles and distractions are often used interchangeably. An obstacle is something that stands in the way of progress. It can be tangible or intangible. A distraction is something that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else. Both are obstructions in the path of progress.
Think of an obstacle as a boulder in the middle of the road and you need to get to the other side. You can climb over it, go around it, move it, or dig through it. One way or another you have to get on the other side if you want to advance to your destination. Once you are on the other side of the boulder, you can proceed on that same road. Yes, you may run into road kill, fallen tree branches, and/or bad weather, however you can overcome these obstacles because you are still on the path of progress.
Same scenario with the boulder in the road. Let’s say you’ve tried to overcome the obstacle but this one is a doozy. You get tired and stop trying. Now you decide to look for another road. You find a path up the hill and decide to set up camp. You get hungry so you venture off to a storefront in the middle of nowhere. You eat, drink, and are satisfied. You look around and realize you have totally strayed away from the road. Distractions take you off of your path of progress.
In the case with my son, he is definitely an interruption in my plan. Ignoring him and proceeding to my destination would keep me on the road. I would also be in good shape if I respond to him, see what he needs, and go to the gym a little later. In these two examples he would an obstacle. However, the interactions with my son are time-consuming. I may start with helping him, feeding him, and then end up snuggling with him while watching one of his favorite shows. This means no gym and a distraction for me indeed.
Good News! Even if you are distracted, you can find your way back on the right track. Make the decision to get focused and overcome the obstacle by attaining resources. Take action. Standing still is NOT an option!