When moving forward towards a achieving a goal, we’re bound to encounter obstacles at some point. Often, the nature of these obstacles come in the form of a Catch 22, defined by wikipedia as “a paradoxical situation from which an individual cannot escape because of contrary rules”.
One of the earliest examples I can remember learning about of a Catch 22 is the one about the four leaf clover; you have to have a four leaf clover to be lucky, but you have to have luck to find a four leaf clover in the first place.
It can be frustrating in Catch 22 situations because it creates a feeling of being stuck without any options. In retrospect, when encountering catch 22 scenarios in the past there were a a few different factors in play contributing to why I would personally stay stuck or just give up and abandon promising endeavors to move onto another.
The Influence of Others
In competitive environments, discussion and debate will often center around why things won’t work instead of how they could work. Harmless discussions would sometimes escalate to very heated debates as each side would try to one up each other with logic, rhetoric, and fierce counterarguments to prove their intellect. I got the feeling that most of time, it wasn’t even about trying to foster discussion as it was to prove “I’m better than you”.
This time of discussion and back and forth debate can be very beneficial, however, if taken in the right context. By hearing the ideas of why something won’t work, this brings awareness to valid points that may not have been on the radar previously. In addition, if valid points are made, this takes out a lot of the trial and error during the process, thereby saving money and time. In the same way that Edison’s critics would comment that he failed 10,000 times before he was able to get a light bulb to work, his response was that he didn’t fail 10,000 times, but rather, he discovered 10,000 different ways that it would not work.
The ultimate idea is to extract from an experience or interaction, the things that could benefit you, rather than having attention distracted from the goal to be achieved.
Creativity & Accountability
Another factor that would cause me to get stuck would be not exercising creativity to get out of a Catch 22 situation. It is infinitely easier and more convenient to just give up or blame a person or situation for why something could not work or did not work. Common excuses are that a task is too difficult, there wasn’t enough resources or time, or conditions were not favorable.
The intimidating part about these excuses are not the excuses themselves, but rather the habit of excuse making that comes from making excuses all the time. When there is no personal accountability and blame is so quickly thrust upon a an individual or circumstances, eventually the habit develops of constantly giving away personal power. For individuals experiencing this, unless there is a powerful transformative force that knocks them out of this behavior pattern and brings awareness to what they are doing to themselves, it becomes a vicious downward spiral of a life being a victim.
To achieve anything worthwhile in life, there will always be obstacles. When the prize is big, the stakes are higher and the obstacles are bigger and more frequent. One of the most important lesson to learn is that life will constantly knock you down and that it’s absolutely crucial to get back up.
Only then, through knowledge, experience and wisdom gained can a person elevate themselves to a level that allows for creativity and true out-of-the-box thinking in finding solutions and accomplishing big things!
Anyone that isn’t physically disabled and has lived to become an adult knows what it is to have perseverance. A baby doesn’t just lay there after attempting first steps, give up and cry, never to try again. There was no judgement on by the baby’s parents, or by the baby itself for falling down. All there was to do was to get up and try again.
With each attempt, with each fall and getting up again, strength was built and the process became more and more familiar. There was no judgement or consideration of time or how many weeks or months has passed. All the baby knows is to keep getting up, keep trying and after a while, that they are mobile can run rather than just walking or crawling!
Somewhere along the way, a seed is planted that failure is not good, failure is unacceptable, and once you fail at something, there’s no chance for redemption. The truth that is known as a baby suddenly becomes overshadowed and forgotten by the pressure to get it right the first time around.
The important lesson that is often missed from giving up too soon, is that perseverance when working towards a worthy outcome always pays off in one way or another eventually. If we are not armed with this context, the opinions that something won’t work, or that something didn’t work because of circumstances, becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.
In life, others may expose and plant a seed of an idea in our head, but it is ultimately us and convinces and decides what truth is to us in our experience. Never let time and fear scare you into making choices, let planning and possibilities drive you forward in your decisions.
Dissolving a Catch 22
Einstein famously said, “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” The same goes for any Catch 22 situation you find yourself in. The policies, rules or nature of the Catch 22 itself may not be been something you created. However, implicit in the fact that you encountered the situation is the fact that you can create another situation to encounter. It may involve taking a different or longer route; it may involve a change in mindset to transcend the situation entirely. One thing is for certain, when a idea captures your enthusiasm and imagination to the point where you decide to take action, remember that the idea didn’t come to you for no reason. Ideas come to you because the consciousness of an idea resonates with your consciousness and has chosen you to manifest it into the world!