The obstacle IS the way

A story about morning routines and small decisions

It’s Monday morning, and I just arrived at the office.

As an entrepreneur running a small distributed team, I have the luxury of not needing to go to the office each day. This is both a blessing and a curse, because I’m facing a choice each morning: I can either…

  1. work from the comfort of my own home, or
  2. commit to never-ending traffic congestion all the way to the office.

And there’s more!

The office administration doesn’t provide parking so the distance between the office building and wherever I can find a spot down the boulevard is anything between 100 meters and 1 kilometer. This is all fine and dandy on a beautiful, warm, sunny day. But these days, it’s freakin’ cold, windy, snowy and definitely not fun to do the walk.

Now, while I’m enjoying my coffee in the morning before leaving home, all this just feels like an obstacle. It requires zero effort to stay inside and avoid all that. However, something I read a while ago keeps popping up in my mind: the obstacle is the way. I later found out there’s a book with this exact title, which I intend to read soon.

Well, if the obstacle is the way, it means I definitely should get dressed and go out, right?

After all, when it’s not morning and I think about all this, it’s much healthier to go out, get some fresh air and physically interact with people throughout the day.

But how do I turn this obstacle into an opportunity? How do I make it the way?

Obstacle one: traffic. It takes about 30 minutes to get from home to the office on a busy morning. 30 minutes completely lost, just moving meters at a time. Plenty of mothers and fathers are driving their kids to school while others are driving to work, and all are grumpy and quite reluctant to let you in on a crowded boulevard. Most drivers tend to force traffic lights and block intersections. As you can guess, Morning Me sees all this as unpleasant and stressful.

The way: audiobooks. I’ve “read” a lot of books while driving. Amazon’s Audible is a great tool to read while driving.

I’ve tried both fiction and self-development books and made some personal discoveries. Since morning is the time of day when I get energized and ready to take over the world, fiction is a bit too universe-shifting for me, but self-development works great. What better way to start the day (or end it) than by learning something that makes me better?

Wait! There’s even more.

Since I am already doing something I enjoy and benefit from when driving with audiobooks, I don’t rush. I don’t force traffic lights or pedestrians. I let other drivers change lanes in front of me. I’m not crazy about overcoming the bus in front of me. I’m not stressing about traffic anymore because my goal is no longer to get out of the traffic as soon as possible.

Obstacle two: parking.

The way: perspective. I generally sit down at the office. I sit down in the car. I sit down at home. I lay down when I sleep. What better opportunity to get up and do some exercise than to go for a walk early before starting the work day?

I love Alin Tuhuţ’s snippet on the walking subject:

This definitely works for me. Whenever I have some mistake to make (to be read as “decision”), I go for a walk.

Walking has a wonderful effect on our minds, and the activity itself so basic!

So, now I deliberately park all the way at the end of the boulevard, just to get some walking distance to the office building. Parking is no long a chore, but an opportunity to walk and start my day on the right foot (no pun intended).

Disclaimer: All of the above doesn’t work for me one hundred percent of the time. There are days when I just don’t want to go outside, whether it’s better for me or not. And guess what: I don’t. I acknowledge to my self that I made a conscious choice to stay in, and I go about my day. (And still take over the world.)

Now, about Monitive’s obstacles.

Examples just like the ones above are the reason why we, at Monitive, welcome obstacles. I call them “challenges.”

This is why even though there are dozens of uptime monitoring services, I strongly believe there is room for improvement. The market is huge, which gives us plenty of room to blossom.

Monitoring platform doesn’t scale?
Build another one, better. Faster. Stronger.

Most monitoring services seem too complicated?
Build a simpler one, even if building a simple interface is much more challenging than adding everything but the kitchen sink.

Monthly revenue not where it should be?
Scale down. See what services or providers we don’t actually need and cancel those subscriptions.

These are the “challenges” that I hope will eventually take us to the top. After all, it’s a known fact that overnight success takes at least ten years.

Think about your obstacles. The good things are usually on the other side of an obstacle. Otherwise, we’d all have everything we ever wanted and it would be heaven on Earth.

So, whenever you want to achieve something, and you see an obstacle, just remember: the obstacle is the way! Look for the opportunity in that!