Step 2

The Dreamer’s Manual:
16 Steps to Achieve Your Creative Goals

Step 2: Overcome Obstacles

Actual and Perceived Obstacles

There are usually obstacles between you and your goal. In order to effectively deal with them, you must first determine whether they are actual or perceived.

Actual obstacles include:

  • Time constraints
  • Budget restrictions
  • Talent, knowledge, geographic, and technological restraints
  • A lack of support from friends, family, and coworkers

Perceived obstacles include:

  • Believing what you want to achieve is impossible
  • Presupposing you won’t achieve your goal
  • Thinking you need more time and money than necessary
  • Doubting the value of your efforts

Imagine your goal is to self-publish a book of your artwork. Below are some actual and perceived obstacles in this scenario, and ways to circumvent them.

Actual Obstacles

ObstaclesSolutions
You don’t have time to work on your projectMake time. Go to bed early, so you can get up early. Carve time out of your schedule for your project
You don’t have money to print a bookCreate your project as an e-book that can be downloaded from Amazon. The costs involved are negligible
You don’t have the skill, software, or hardware to put the book together, and you aren’t close to a facility that has these resourcesEnroll in a class that will teach you the necessary skills and give you access to the proper equipment. Find a way to get to the closest facility for your training, whether it’s through public transportation, your own or a friend’s vehicle, or a ride-sharing service
Friends, family, and coworkers don’t believe you can achieve your goal, and say you shouldn’t bother tryingDespite what anyone (or everyone) says, believe you can achieve your goal and find a way to do it. Tell the people in your life you want and need their support, and if necessary, don’t discuss your goals with people who are dismissive of your abilities and methods

Perceived Obstacles

ObstaclesSolutions
Believing what you want to achieve is impossibleCreativity is an optimistic endeavor: you have to believe something is possible in order to achieve it. Research creators who did what people once thought was impossible (Einstein, da Vinci, Curie, etc.), and use them as sources of inspiration
Presupposing you won’t achieve your goalConsider a difficult goal you once thought you couldn’t reach, but ultimately did. Use this as another source of inspiration to reach your goal
Thinking you need more time and money than necessaryResearch the amount of resources truly needed to achieve your goal. They may be less than you imagine, or there may be shortcuts that can reduce the amount of necessary resources. Consider teaming up with partners or investors to help you with your project. Also, utilize crowdfunding
Doubting the value of your effortsThere is value in creative work. If something is important enough to be a personal or professional goal, it likely has inherent value

Overcoming obstacles is a skill that can be practiced and improved. If you develop a strategy for dealing with obstacles, it can take you a long way toward achieving your goals.

Step 2: Overcome obstacles