How To Overcome Obstacles: Forget Wheaties, Gobble Up Problems For Breakfast!

While I was on a bike ride peddling my way towards the beach on Sunday, I felt the power of the wind pushing me backwards.  The sheer force made me feel like a little kid stuck running in place because a big tall bully had his arm outstretched and his hand pushed against my forehead, keeping me from getting past him.

I shook that image out of my head and tried to peddle faster, but it still felt like I was spinning my wheels in a standstill.  As I fought my way into the wind, I felt my mouth get dry, sweat start to bead on my skin, and my legs start to burn from the strain.

Fighting The Urge To Give Up And Turn Back

I’m a casual biker, nowhere close to the gung-ho triathletes who are always out cycling up a storm, and my body was begging me to give into the temptation to just turn around and ride back the way I came.  If I turned around I’d instantly have the wind working for me not against me.

It’d be SO much easier and I could just coast along.  But this was one of the warmest, sunniest days we’d had in weeks of cold and cloud covered skies, so I couldn’t bring myself to waste it.  It wasn’t going to be easy, but I just had to see the waves crash on the shore, sink my feet into the sand, and soak in some sun.

Forget Wheaties, Gobble Up Problems For Breakfast!

If you want to be a successful entrepreneur you’re going to have to learn how to overcome obstacles and get used to all sorts of forces working against you and start eating them for breakfast!  Your body will plead for sleep at the worst times, your brain will try to distract you with crippling back pain and other health issues, and failures of all sorts will tempt you to throw your hands up and walk away.

But you’re not a quitter because you’re an untemplate gladiator!  If you’ve set 2012 goals for a better lifestyle and more happiness, and have clear objectives for your career, business, relationships, you name it, you WILL be able to push past hurdles and rejections!

Power Up By Keeping Your Target In Sight And Mind

Now back to my bike story/analogy…Right before I was ready to pass out and fall over into the grass from exhaustion, I could see the start of the beach in the distance.  My goal and destination was still far away but it was in my sight!!  After that, the closer and closer I got to the beach, the less and less I noticed the resistance of the wind fighting against me and my physical exhaustion.

Why?  Because halleluiah I could see my final destination and that’s where my focus went.  I had no more thoughts of turning back or how my legs had turned into jello.  Was this because the wind had changed and lightened up?  NOPE!  It’s because I was powered up from having my target in my sight and mind, and nothing else mattered.  Before I knew it, I broke into a huge grin as the sea breeze hit my face and I heard the crunch of sand under my wheels.

One Step At A Time And You’ll Get There

My little biking journey is just one example of how setting a goal and keeping it at the front of your mind will help you achieve the lifestyle you want one step (or peddle) at a time.  If I hadn’t made up my mind that I wanted to spend the afternoon at the beach, I probably would have just given up and turned around a quarter of the way in because the trip there was a lot harder than I anticipated and I had so many things tempting me to quit. If you want to reach success, you have to be adamant about setting and achieving your goals.

Living a template lifestyle is generally easy, predictable, and usually rather drab.  Is that what you want?  Hope not!  To live an untemplate lifestyle, we need to constantly challenge ourselves to do new things, think outside the box, and overcome the difficulties between now and where we want to be.

Untemplaters, how easily do you give up when faced with an obstacle?  How are you doing on your 2012 goals so far?  When was the last time you gave up on something you wanted and do you regret it?

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Hi there, I’m Sydney! After ten crazy years, I left a grueling six-figure job in 2015 for a better life. Now I spend my days writing, freelancing in various capacities, and finding new ways to stretch my brain. I’m crazy about photography, traveling the world, and stopping to smell the roses. Untemplater is where I share my insights and adventures with the world. I hope to never stop learning and being able to give back - every day is a gift! My love of helping people improve their lifestyles, careers, wealth and happiness constantly motivate me to write and evolve. Thanks for reading and I hope to hear from you in the comments below!


  1. says

    I can see you huffing and buffing westward into the San Francisco wind now Sydney! It’s so much easier biking eastward with the wind at our backs.

    For many folks, they busted their buts in high school, to attend a good college, and land a great career for decades and cruise. Things get boring after a while! Yet, the online community is filled with wonderful misfits who are doing their own thing, and it’s so much fun!

    My main two goals are: optimize my sites and get into the ideal weight. So far, not bad! You?


    • Sydney says

      Haha Nice to have a fellow SF local understand how crazy the wind can be here! I just had an old colleague email me and tell me she’s starting a new job to pursue her passion. I love that! It took her several years to lock in a position, but she was able to save and prepare so it wasn’t time wasted.

      Nice targets for 2012! I have no doubt you’ll get to your ideal weight if you keep exercising like you always do and continue eating more vegetarian and vegan meals like you have been doing lately. Cutting out dairy should help a lot of you can manage it.

      My 2012 goals are going well so far. I made a ton so I have my hands full but it’s been fun so far. I’m doing great on my fitness goals so far which is major improvement over last year!

  2. Big Fish says

    Great article Sydney, and so true! Having clear, well defined goals that folks are both committed to and passionate about are pure drivers for thier engines, and what keeps them moving forward to their ultimate achievement. I find as long as I constantly have minimum 3 short term and 3 long term goals to focus on (all of which are staring me in the face every day via my “goals board”) it keeps me on track and moving forward; for example, right now my short term goals include an upcoming concert, a new computer and some basic debt reduction – darn that car insurance!! Long term goals include a trip to Peru (Which was a long term goal 3 years ago but we are going in May) finish writing my book (again, should be finally done this year after sweating it out on the keyboard for the past 2) and paying off our mortgage in full, again, just over 2 years away. Because these things are all important to me and by way of the board constantly in front of me, any excuses to give up or waste precious time or cash on anything but them are few and far between. “Seeing” our completed goasl in our minds keeps our eyes on the prize!
    And once we’ve completed onegoal, amazingly enough, another one seems to magically fill the void left behind… imagine that!

    • Sydney says

      I love that you have a goals board Big Fish!! And 3 short term and 3 long term goals to focus on is a fantastic balance. The fact that you can list out all 6 of them proves they are at the front of your mind and thanks to your goals board they are also in your sights each day. :).

      That’ll be sweet when you get to Peru. I want to explore that area myself too. It looks amazing. Keep up the good work reducing debt and working on your book, exciting!

  3. Thomas - Ways to Invest Money says

    Great story! keeping your goals in site is something really worth mentioning. Its unfortunate but I rarely discuss my goals to friend anymore as it seems like they are too easily thrown off course. I remember once I mentioned to a friend I wanted to get a F430 Ferrari so I was going to resist getting car payments. He simply couldnt understand why I would drive a honda accord when I could get a much better car. Needless to say years have passed and he has gone through 2 cars and is on his 3rd. While I haven’t gotten the Ferrari I am only amazed at that amount of money I have saved versus what he has spent on those car. Keep you eye on the prize.

    • Sydney says

      Thanks Thomas! I think that’s cool you were able to save a lot and there’s nothing wrong with a Honda Accord. I love Honda’s actually. I have no desire to ever own a fancy car myself. Right now I take public transit everywhere but if I ever did move somewhere else and needed a car, I’d get something cheap. I like how more cars are shrinking in size. I never was a fan of big cars.

  4. Tyler S. says

    This is a technique I would use when I was training in the off-season for soccer! I would be dying from running sprints, or finishing a 2 mile run under 12 minutes, and just think of scoring goals and winning games the next season. This would totally make me forget about the pain, and help me focus and work that much harder. I’m still trying to transfer this into my work life, but I’m making progress!

    • Sydney says

      Oh man that brings back memories from when I was on a soccer team in school. Sprints are SO hard. That’s sweet you were running 2 miles under 12 minutes. You should definitely apply this method to your career if you can. It’s not easy to fight off fatigue but the rewards are well worth it.

  5. says

    Good metaphor! I am an avid cyclist and enjoyed your metaphor. There are times (particularly in winter) that I am caught going against the wind and struggle with it, but get a great workout. It is a lot like life, sometimes it is tougher than others and you need to tough it out to get through.

    • Sydney says

      Thanks KC! I didn’t realize you’re into cycling, that’s cool. It’s crazy how strong the wind can be isn’t it?! I used to stand up when I rode by bike when I was younger to get more power but I’m too chicken to do that now as I wobble too much.

  6. says

    I too am an avid cyclist, so can well relate to this metaphor. It also makes me think about those super long rides where you head on out “with a tail wind” and just keep going then suddenly realize your 50+ mile’s from home, and then it hits now I got to go all the way back “into a head wind” and some how we always get home.

    I find a lot of my goals / projects are like this the first half is easy and though the last part is harder to finish it does get done if I can reach the turn, knowing this allows me to push the envelope and do much larger projects.

    • Sydney says

      That sounds a lot tougher when the ride home is into the wind! Fortunately most of the times I bike it’s tail wind on the way back so as long as I can make it to my destination, getting home isn’t too tough. That’s so true about what you said about the first part of projects being fairly easy sometimes which is nice because it’s fun and exciting to get started. Definitely takes discipline to keep momentum going when the tough half starts approaching.

  7. says

    Funny that you should mention Wheaties. My dad always ate them for breakfast every day of the week and still does. It brings back memories.

    I like to attack problems head on. Occasionally, they will get the better of me for a few days, but I have learned that nothing will change my situation unless I do something about it. I also have learned to be thankful because even in my problems there is always the opportunity for worse things to happen.

    • Sydney says

      Wow your dad is one loyal consumer, that’s neat. I remember seeing Wheaties
      commercials all the time growing up but I never did try them. I’m sure they taste good though. :)

      Attacking problems head on is the best way. I am still fighting a tendency to work on lots of little issues while putting off the big ones because they are so overwhelming. Breaking the big tasks down really helps though.

      Each of us really does have a lot to be thankful for and you’re absolutely right that even when things are tough they could always be worse! Here’s to a productive weekend of problem solving!

  8. Edward Antrobus says

    Never been to SF, but in the spring and fall, the wind blowing down from Wyoming can be pretty brutal. Last wind storm, a sign came loose and blew 50 feet before getting stuck in a fence. I’ve seen 100lb+ barricades get blown over. When I’m working in that, at the end of the day there is no feeling of exileration or success. Just bone. tired. weariness. Once, I took a nap in my car, because i didn’t have the energy to drive home.

    I don’t like problems. I like challenges. The difference is that problems come to you, but you choose challenges. To use your bike analogy, a flat tire is a problem. Installing flat proof tubes so you don’t get another flat, is a challenge.

    • Sydney says

      Wow that sounds like some crazy strong wind. I remember being in Boston one year and the wind was so strong I was scared I’d literally be blown over. It was hard to even walk down the street the gusts were so strong. I’d pass out in my car too if I had to work outside in wind like that!

      I like the way you differentiate between problems and challenges with that flat tire example. Clever!

  9. Ricardo says

    Thanks for this bit of motivation. 2012 so far has been good for us since we’ve been following through on a lot of our goals unlike previous years. We love biking too, so your analogy really hit home!

    • Sydney says

      Thanks Ricardo! I’m glad you’re making progress on your goals so far. I can’t believe so many people give up on resolutions and goals after only 1-2 weeks and that other people don’t even bother making any in the first place. I love pushing myself to work harder and try new things because the feeling of progress and accomplishment is pure happiness!

  10. Dr Dean says

    Great story about facing adversity head on. Love your energy and optimism. I do a little cycling too, and it is certainly aggravating, and the noise is irritating too!

    • Sydney says

      Thanks Dr. Dean! Cycling is such a great workout and it’s so nice to be outdoors. Getting through the windy days makes the calm days seem like a piece of cake!

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