The obstacle

I’ve started out on a new design thinking class and we’re at the stage where we’ve identified a potential problem and need to assess if it really exists. One of the requirements of the class is to “get out of the building” and test the ideas by asking potential customers. For the first problem assessment assignment, I have 3 options – call up people I know and ask them, do some research locally or travel to the city (45 minutes away) and attempt to do it there. I say “attempt” because there is no guarantee they’ll stop and answer my questions.

I was amazed at the resistance surge I experienced within myself when I first gave the city option thought. I realized that my zone of comfort involved reaching out to people I knew and doing a quick survey of needs. The thought of going into the city, walking about, asking people questions, and getting rejected had woken up the resistance. Perhaps angered it even. It was now an obstacle and as the resistance didn’t want me to contemplate the thought. It even attempted to send a few excuses – you are too busy, there is that appointment you can’t miss, etc.

That moment was the surest sign that the right thing to do was to remove my appointments in the afternoon and head to the city.

The obstacle, I have come to learn, is generally the way.