How to Reframe Obstacles and Start Living the Life You Were Meant to Live

posted in: Inquiry | 0

Obstacles, real and perceived, are the reason most people do not pursue living a life of meaning. There’s always some “thing,” some “one,” some fear, some reason why you can’t / won’t / shouldn’t take even the smallest action toward living that life.

Are you ready to change that? Are you ready to get obstacles – some very real, some simply perceived – out of your brain and down on paper so you can work through them and figure out what is truly holding you back?

Great! Let’s do that now.

One of the most challenging things in moving toward living your life with more meaning and purpose is the underlying thought that you must move instantly from where you are right now and do an enormous ripping off of the Band Aid so to speak. You need to quit your job, sell your house, ditch 80% of your stuff, and materialize into this new state of being effortlessly, in the shortest amount of time possible.

Now, if that is something you’re willing to do, you feel confident doing it, and you feel as though you’re prepared to do that without devastating consequences, be my guest. For most people, however, this “instant materialization” simply isn’t possible, nor should it be a goal.

What causes this Band-Aid ripping mentality is all or nothing thinking (which I’ve written about here). All or nothing thinking hinders our ability to get creative, identify alternatives, and find different ways through the maze of life that can actually get us to where we want to be. All or nothing thinking allows us to only evaluate situations and experiences as either a complete success or a complete failure.

To escape the trap of all or nothing thinking, you can use the following to start taking steps (small or large, your choice) toward a life of more meaning, more purpose, and more satisfaction. Try reframing an all or nothing obstacle using the right now because / which means / and then framework. Here are some examples (the obstacles are shown in quotes):


“I don’t have the energy”…right now because…I work long hours….which means…I need to assess if my current job is eating my soul / I need to address my sleep and eating habits / I need to address boundary issues at work and at home, etc.…and then…begin looking for a different job/change what I eat/ develop a different ritual around bedtime / change my routine at home or at work, etc.

“I don’t have the space to paint”…right now because…I live in a tiny house/apartment…which means…I need to look at purging or selling some things / reorganizing a room/ getting creative about where to paint…and then…begin looking for community places where I can take paint classes / buy a small table for my paint setup/ look into co-sharing work space cheaply.

“I don’t have the right qualifications”…right now because…I’ve never worked in the industry I’m now interested in…which means…I need to research the right qualifications /where to earn them / cost to earn them…and then…begin saving to take a course or sign up for a course.


You were meant to live a life that fills you with joy, passion, and a sense of accomplishment.  By reframing obstacles using the “right now because / which means/ and then” method, you plan your move from a state of inaction to a place of taking action which dismantles and disempowers the obstacle.

Instead of remaining in a state of already being defeated before you begin – the state of “instant materialization” – you’re now in a place where you influence your thoughts through clarity and intent which allows you to follow through and start living your joyful passion filled life today.