What is the #1 obstacle to success?

What is the #1 obstacle to success?

In my career as an acrobat with Cirque du Soleil I was exposed to many new opportunities and experiences while traveling the world.  Through the distraction of new places to explore every week I also had to focus on my performances. For acrobat, focus is everything, with physical harm at stake at any given moment it is not a healthy risk to lose focus. While practicing the Russian Swing* act one day I recognized a key component in my ability and the ability of the entire team to accomplish a goal or complete a trick. Even though our physical training was at its peak I discovered this one thing that could keep us from succeeding no matter how hard we tried. The one thing that is the #1 obstacle keeping many of us from reaching our goals.



What is this #1 obstacle to success? Our thinking.  Watch the video above and at 1 minute 30 seconds you will see clearly why. The whale does something truly spectacular by leaping completely out of the water. If the whale believed that flying was impossible then it would not have flown. If the whale had believed what humans say about whales it would have accepted that it is just too large and not leapt out of the water. Because the whale was not constrained by the thought that it is impossible to leap out of the water it was able to leap out of the water.

When I was 21 years old I wanted to be an Ocean front Lifeguard. I had been a lifeguard and swimming instructor since I was old enough at age 15. For two years I had attempted to pass the test offered by the US Dept of the Interior in order to be a National Park Service Lifeguard. At each attempt I would fail the long distance timed swim. Each time I greatly exceed the time requirement by minutes, which is to say I was not even close to passing. The long distance timed swim was always the last test. Each time I failed the test was added to the previous failures and I carried the weight of all these past failures with me each time I entered the pool for the test. After more failures than I have fingers to count my parents drove me to Long Island for the last possible test for the season. At the test prior to the Long Island test I was told how difficult it would be even for a competitive swimmer, which I was not, to shave minutes off the swim time. When I arrived, Mr. Martinez, who had tested me each time before, told me to begin the long distance swim. He said I could do the other tests if I passed the long distance swim. I did not have to tell myself how tired I was, because I wasn't, I had not done any of the other tests. So I jumped in the pool and swam as fast as I could for as long as I could. When I touched the wall of the pool to end the swim I had finished the swim with two minutes to spare. I had done it. I did not let the impossibility of erasing two minutes off my swim time stop me from completing the test in the time necessary. That summer I spent the season at Great Kills National Seashore in Staten Island, NY as a National Park Service Oceanfront Lifeguard.

What thought is blocking you from reaching your goal?


 Here are three resources that I have used to help me identify and overcome obstacles:

** "Thinking in new boxes" by Luc De Brabandere and Alan Iny. I found this book very helpful for creating new thought patterns for innovative thinking.

** Deepok Chopra "Abundance meditation" .

I have found these meditations support an open mindset.


** Insight timer meditation app. (available wherever you get your apps.)

This app helps me maintain my meditation practice offering a variety and tools to track my practice.  

Upcoming Events:

Thursday June 17 @ 7 pm EDT

UBUNTU Healing Circle (a Black affinity space)

Friday June 18 @ 3pm - 4 pm EDT

Black Joy  (virtual Keynote presentation)

Saturday June 19 @ 12pm  EDT

Amancipation (virtual Poetry presentation)

AVA Gallery & Art Center, Lebanon, NH

Saturday June 19 @ 2pm EDT

Amancipation (Live Poetry presentation)

Burlington Juneteenth Celebration, Burlington, VT


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*The Russian Swing is platform like pendulum used to send acrobats flying through the air. (see photo above from the Cirque du Soleil show Saltimbanco)

Move forward with passion and purpose.