All the Stuff that Gets in the Way of the Things You Want To Do!

You know it's gonna come up

Have you ever noticed there is always stuff that gets in the way of the things you want to do?

I don’t mean that you have to work before you can go snowboarding – I think we all understand that we have to work before we can play, even if we don’t always like it. What I’m talking about is the idea that whatever you set out to do, there are going to be obstacles and delays on the way to success.

I ran into this the other day when I wanted to install base moldings in my new martial arts school. My architect wanted me to use plywood made from bamboo. It’s expensive, I really like it. But before I could nail the moldings into place, I had to order the plywood, receive it, cut it into strips, sand it, apply a finish, and cut it to length. The whole project took me four days, but actually installing the molding only took the last half of the last day.

Only 10% is the “good stuff”

If it sounds like I’m complaining, that’s because I am …. a little. But what I’m really trying to do is point out something that happens in virtually every significant activity, and that’s this: planning, preparation, and problems are often 90 percent of the projects we do. And if we ignore this truth, we’re doomed to be frustrated and often doomed to fail. On the flip side, if we recognize this at the start of a project, we’re much better prepared to move forward.

Three things you can do

Here are three things you can do to get ready for all the stuff that gets in the way of the things you want to do:

1. Hire a professional

2. Plan

3. Mentally prepare

Hire a professional

If you have the means to hire professionals, they are usually much better prepared to deal with the stuff that has to be done along the way. They have the tools, the knowledge, and the experience to either avoid the obstacles or deal with them along the way.

Of course, you still have to find the right person for the job, and if you aren’t aware of the obstacles that can arise in your project, you will probably underestimate how long it’s going to take him to get it done.

So, even if you do hire a professionals, you still have to plan and mentally prepare.

Plan … but not too much

It won’t surprise you when I say that planning means learning as much as you can about your task in advance, and figuring out the most efficient way to proceed. I’m a big advocate of planning, but if you read my other post on, you’ll know I’m a bigger advocate of taking action … BIG action. I know way too many people who never get started because they’re always working on their plans. So even though you should plan your projects, I think mental preparation is the single most important thing you can do to help you get through the stuff that gets in the way of the things you want to do.

Half of preparation is 100% mental

If you haven’t heard me say “attitude is everything,” then I haven’t said it often enough or loud enough. Attitude is everything!

Or almost everything. And attitude when starting new tasks can be really, really important. The most successful people I know are those who start projects with these attitudes: (1) they WILL succeed; (2) there WILL be problems, obstacles, and detours; and (3) they WILL persevere despite the problems, obstacles, and detours. Just going into a task with these three attitudes can make a huge difference in the outcome.

And in a funny way, mental preparation for the problems, pitfalls, and predicaments can be a very important part of planning. If you expect a problem and are prepared to deal with it, whatever it might be, you’ll be far better prepared and not nearly so discouraged by it.

So definitely dream about your desires. Dream big, and picture your goals clearly and in great detail. Then, when you know exactly what you want, think about where things can go wrong. That’s the stuff that’s going to get in the way of the things you want to do. Whatever you do, don’t let that stuff discourage you! You’ll get through it if you’ve planned and prepared, and you’ll be smiling at the other end.

About Nicklaus

Nick has studied the martial arts and philosophies of Asia for 44 years, and has used their principles to start five successful businesses, including SEO Ann Arbor. He's an attorney, entrepreneur, consultant, and author of four books on martial arts, including Budo Mind and Body, which was featured in Black Belt Magazine. He advises a wide variety of businesses and individuals on marketing, motivation, mastery, success, and kicking your ass into gear.