We all know it too well that obstacles in life are inevitable. There is always something that just doesn’t go your way.

But when you say ‘obstacles’, most people will immediately think about external circumstances such as an economic crisis, unemployment, or the wrong timing.

It’s because many of us tend to blame other people, society, and the world for our failures. After all, it’s more convenient to view life from this perspective – it’s not you, it’s the cruel world, an unjust social system, and heartless people.

Looking inwards requires courage as you may stumble upon some uncomfortable truths about yourself in the process. And getting uncomfortable is the last thing any of us wants.

But there are some underestimated obstacles that often have more power over us than any external influence. These are things that we carry with us through a lifetime and don’t even realize it.

If you are feeling left behind in life, read through the list below. Does any of the following obstacles prevent you from living your best life?

7 Invisible Obstacles in Life That Stop You from Fulfilling Your Potential

1. Unhealthy self-esteem

A distorted self-image affects our outlook on life in so many ways and often takes us further from fulfilling our purpose. When you don’t believe in yourself, you will hesitate to even try to chase your dreams. You will tend to think that it’s beyond your ability and you are bound to fail.

But it’s not only low self-esteem that blurs your vision and leaves you behind in life. Too high self-esteem can also be damaging because it doesn’t allow you to have a clear picture of your capabilities.

Thus, both lacking self-belief and having too much of it can be big obstacles on the way to your life goals. It happens because unhealthy self-esteem may result in the fact that you don’t know who you are.

Whether you are painfully insecure or too full of yourself, your self-knowledge suffers, and for this reason, you are more likely to follow the wrong path in life.

2. Fear of the unknown

It’s natural to be afraid of the unknown. After all, most of us seek comfort and peace. Familiar activities, faces, routines, and environments are what bring us this sense of comfort.

But what if one day you suddenly realize that you are living someone else’s life? That you are stuck in a boring routine, and there is no escape? This is when the answer lies in leaving your comfort zone and making a change.

Some people dare to do something about their boring lives, others don’t. Fear of the unknown is a powerful obstacle, and overcoming it requires courage. After all, it’s not easy to give up your established routines and activities and go after an elusive dream.

But guess what? If you don’t dare to step outside your comfort zone, don’t expect your life to become more fulfilling and exciting.

3. Laziness and procrastination

Laziness and procrastination are among those obstacles in life that don’t seem big enough until you fall into their trap. They are just insignificant habits, so how can they hold you back in life?

But think about it, and you will see that they both can hinder your growth. Procrastination leaves you wasting your time on nonsense when you could be doing something useful. And laziness makes you settle for less where you could move forward.

When faced with an opportunity, you get consumed by doubts such as ‘Why bother changing something if I already live a decent life?’ or ‘My job is good enough and I’m used to it. If I make a career change, I will have to start it all over again. New people, new duties, new workplace. No, I’m better off in my current job.’

I guess you get the point. Laziness is a habit that keeps you deep in your comfort zone. It is an underestimated obstacle that holds you back in life, whether you realize it or not.

4. Social and family expectations

While we learn a number of useful skills through social conditioning as children, it often has negative effects on our further lives. Thought patterns imposed by family and society often hinder our growth.

First of all, these can be unrealistic expectations from our parents that haunt us throughout the years.

For example, you might be coming from a family where all men followed a military career, so you are expected to do the same. But it’s not what you want – you always dreamed about starting your own business but were afraid to go against your family tradition.

In a situation such as this, family expectations will be a major obstacle in your life. But the truth is that you will never become someone else just because your parents want you to. Shaping your life according to their expectations is a one-way road to unhappiness and unfulfillment.

5. Social conditioning

Then there are products of social conditioning that are more pervasive. There are certain biases and stereotypes that are imposed on us by society as a whole.

For instance, you find yourself stuck in a rut and feel the need to change something in your life. Have you devoted your best years to the wrong job? It’s a sad story that happens to so many people. But you are afraid that it’s too late for a career change.

This is where social conditioning comes into play, and you make excuses such as ‘I’m too old for that’, ‘Only people with a university degree can do that’, or ‘It’s a weird occupation for a woman’.

Thus, you give up before you even try yourself in a new role.

6. Overthinking

thinking traps

The tendency to overthink things can make your life difficult in many ways. But one of the most tangible consequences of this habit is the inability to act and make decisions.

Overthinking can go hand in hand with other self-defeating behaviors such as perfectionism and often affects the most intelligent and talented people. I believe it’s one of the biggest obstacles in life for people with above-average IQs.

There is even a term called ‘analysis paralysis’. It’s when you can’t make a decision because you are analyzing the situation too much. So instead of acting, you find yourself ‘paralyzed’ by your own thoughts.

A thoughtful approach to life is great, but there comes a time when you need to make that decision and move forward. If it’s time to act, but your overthinking mind is full of doubts and ruminations, it can be a major obstacle on the road to success and fulfillment.

7. Fixed mindset

As seen from the above, we often throw a monkey wrench into our own progress in life. We create obstacles and frames in our own minds. Sometimes it happens as a result of social conditioning or a lack of self-belief, but the rigidity of our thinking can also be to blame.

I’m talking about people who perceive life in extremes; as if there are only black and white sides to everything. They will usually have a very fixed mindset about work, success, relationships, and life in general.

They will have narrow-minded perceptions and will put themselves into strict frames, thus sabotaging their own growth. Such people also tend to think that they are always right and won’t learn from their mistakes.

All these counter-productive consequences of a fixed mindset make it difficult for someone to progress in life. When you never re-evaluate your views and refuse to learn from your mistakes, you don’t evolve.

Final Thoughts

You can see that many of the obstacles we face in life are created by our own minds. Of course, it’s undeniable that external circumstances play a great role too. But we often sabotage our own happiness and success without even realizing it. It’s often our fault that we feel stuck in a rut and left behind.

Yes, it’s an inconvenient truth to consider, but ultimately, it will help you take control over your life.

Which of the above obstacles in life do you most struggle with? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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