39: Temporary Obstacles

In the course of trying to reach a goal or to fulfill an ambition, temporary obstacles will invariably present themselves. This is not always a bad thing. Obstructions, difficulties, and even setbacks can eventually be overcome and become assets. Without irritating grains of sand, oysters would never make pearls.

The obstacles pointed to here are not permanent, yet they are in the way for the time being. As when a large boulder falls in the middle of your route, the best course of action is usually to go around it, rather than to try to move it out of the way. Temporary obstacles need to be seen for what they are—temporary—and not be allowed to take on too much significance.

A positive aspect of even the most difficult stumbling block is that it can cause a person to turn inward, gaining greater depth of character and self-knowledge. While the shortsighted bemoan their fate and seek to blame their problems on others, the wise always look to see if the cause of the problem is within themselves. Through introspection, obstacles can become a means for personal growth and self-discovery. Remember: without air resistance, no plane would ever fly.

If you are facing an interruption of your progress, do not be overly concerned. Challenges are a part of achieving every goal and every undertaking. Setbacks and reversals can affect morale, but keeping up your self-confidence in the face of obstacles is part of the successful solution to many (if not most) problems. Obstacles of short duration are best handled with a yielding attitude. Go around the boulder; don’t put your shoulder to it.

Changing Line Interpretations

Line 1 (bottom line)

Your way ahead is blocked; the time is not right for direct action. Retreat, reflect on the situation, and wait for the right moment to overcome the obstacle. When confronted with a threatening roadblock, it is a mistake to forge ahead blindly. Look for an opening through or a detour around what is in your way. Also, wait for the right time to move.

Line 2

Normally, if a large boulder is blocking your road, you are better off to find another road. The one exception is when duty or previous commitments demand that you face the obstruction directly—that is, you try to remove the rock. Even if confronting the obstacle suggests a personal risk, duty and moral obligations must be honored, for personal integrity is a resource that is hard to replenish.

Line 3

When one is in a position of responsibility or leadership, caution must be exercised when confronting an obstacle; a wider array of needs and consequences needs to be considered. Rash decisions and actions in such situations will bring misfortune. Nevertheless, a leader must remain firm and decisive once a course of action has been set. Keep your priorities in mind. Those who rely on you will be happy to see you have kept them in mind too.

Line 4

Big obstacles often cannot be removed single handedly. To move a large boulder that is in the way, many hands make light work. Do not confront a serious obstacle until you have gathered trustworthy supporters to help you. To move before your support is firm invites misfortune.

Line 5

In true emergencies, one should not wait to devise a cautious strategy or enlist the support of others before taking action. In such cases, immediate action precedes strategy, and your resolute spirit will spur others into pitching in too. Acting boldly when action is called for brings good fortune. At times like this, it is better to be 51 percent right in your efforts to surmount the obstacle than 100 percent wrong in your choice to not deal with it.

Line 6 (top line)

When a difficult situation degenerates into a real mess, only bold, forthright action can turn things around and bring success. This line points to the situation of a person facing a roadblock to moving forward while also facing an obstacle from behind. There is no way forward and no going back. The circumstances are so complex that they appear to be a trap, with no way out. When this happens, redouble your efforts. Do your best to not worry much right now about the results. Look for help from others in positions of authority and power. When you find strong support, a breakthrough becomes probable.
Have faith in your own experience and you can salvage the situation. Good fortune awaits.