Sometimes Your Biggest Obstacle Is Actually Pointing You In The Direction You Need To Be Going

Hours of research. Days of writing. Weeks of rewriting.

All those notes, all those random words, all those disjointed sentences… and I’d turned it into something more.

It was ready to ship. And I was ready to ship it.

I wanted to check it one more time before I shipped it. Well, I didn’t really want to. But I thought I should.

I opened my art and there were all the notes, all the random words, all the disjointed sentences.

“That’s weird,” I thought. “Where’s the actual thing?”

I scrolled down but it wasn’t there. I closed and opened the document again just in case my laptop was lying. I looked through all of my documents to make sure I hadn’t saved it under another name.

But… it couldn’t be gone! Not after the hours and days and weeks I’d put into creating it. That alone meant it must still exist somewhere, right?


It was gone.

All those hours, all those days, all those weeks… wasted.

All that creativity for nothing.

I thought “I’m not fucking writing that again,” and I turned off my laptop and went to relax.

But I couldn’t relax. Not after that bullshit. I was frustrated and angry and I wanted things to be ok again but they weren’t.

I was still bargaining. I was still holding onto some hope that the book I’d written would magically reappear and then I could ship it and then I could laugh about this whole thing.

I wasn’t accepting that it was gone forever.

At the time I was reading a book called The Obstacle Is The Way, written by Ryan Holiday.

I remembered I was reading it and then I actually did laugh. Because now was the perfect time to practice this philosophy that I’d decided I loved. It’s a strange feeling to wish you were wrong when you know you’re right.

Losing the finished draft of my book was the obstacle. And that meant that it was also the way.

How could this obstacle be my way?

I thought about cutting out some of the chapters I’d originally written because they were weak. I thought about how I could add a couple of different chapters that would be better than the ones I was cutting out.

I thought about how this would make a cool introduction to the book, that I’d written the whole thing and then lost it and then written it again. I thought about how this was a chance for me to make the book better than it ever could’ve been before, because now I was a bit smarter and wiser and more at ease.

I thought about how easy it would be to not write the book again.

But then I thought about how much easier it would be to write the book again than to not write it again.

And that was enough for me. I started writing again later that day.

I finished the final draft about a week after that and this new version was so much better than the version that disappeared. I even enjoyed writing it more because I knew it was a better version of me writing it. How could that not be enjoyable?


What’s your obstacle?

Maybe you don’t have enough money. What would happen if you turned that obstacle into your way? Wouldn’t you become more creative, and a better hustler, and wouldn’t you learn how to do things by yourself instead of paying someone?

Maybe you don’t have enough time. What would happen if you turned that obstacle into your way? Wouldn’t you spend some time thinking about why you’re using “I don’t have enough time” as an excuse? Wouldn’t that give you more time?

Maybe you’re worried about failing. What would happen if you turned that obstacle into your way? What would happen if you accepted that you’re worried about failing, and started understanding it rather than judging it, and decided that it was more important to let go of it than to hold onto it?

But maybe you have many obstacles. Maybe you don’t have enough money, or enough time, or you’re worried about failing. Maybe there are even more obstacles than that.

If that’s the truth, then be grateful.

Because many obstacles mean many ways. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Matt is a writer from the UK.

Keep up with Matt on Twitter and

More From Thought Catalog