Everyone has problems. Sometimes our problems are large and sometimes they are small. Sometimes we can fix them and sometimes they are out of our control. Sometimes we have more than one problem facing us at a time. Then, there are short periods of time where all seems to be well. Beware, when all is going well, a problem is just around the corner.
Most of the time it's the little issues that work on us the most. We don't get bitten by elephants, but mosquitoes can drive us crazy. That's how the small problems work on us. How we view our problems plays a large role in how they effect us.
Terminology is key to defining problems. We would all be better served if we stopped using the term "problem" and started using the term "Challenge". Challenge infers that we can overcome it. It may not be easy, but it can be overcome. Basically, "problem" is negative and "Challenge" is positive. When confronted with a challenge, we can choose to accept it and work to resolve it or we can refuse to accept it. "Problems" on the other hand do not seem to offer us any choice.
The other thing I like to do is try to be "fascinated" rather than "frustrated". Fascination has a positive vibe and frustration is negative. When something is fascinating we want to look at it more closely or investigate it. When something is frustrating we would rather avoid it.
Finally, the resolution or victory over a challenge is found in a solution. Again, if I can resolve a challenge, go for it. If it is out of my control, then we must learn to give it up and move forward in a different direction when possible. Solutions are what solve the issues and are what make us grow and become better. In order to solve a challenge we must think differently than before. We must act differently than before.
Our approach to a challenge must change if we are to live a simpler and less stressful life. Most people when confronted with a Challenge (problem), initially try to hide or run from it. When that fails, we will mull it over in our minds for far too long. The appropriate action is to identify the challenge, decide if it's correctable, establish a plan if it is, and work the solution.
Taking action on the solution is the starting point to resolve the issue. Steady action in a new direction can work to resolve the challenge. One other thing has to happen for us to resolve a challenge. We must see the challenge with new vision and new thinking. Albert Einstein is believed to have said "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking that we used when we created them.
Looking at a challenge and analyzing why we got where we are is the most important step in resolving it. This solution oriented thinking is not what most of us are used to. We are used to focusing on the problem. The absolute best thing we can do is avoid spending our time thinking about what got us into the situation and spend our time coming up with a solution.
I prefer to change my thinking pattern and avoid living in the problem. We must learn to live in the solution. A classic example is found in people who say they can never get ahead financially in life. They are bogged down by the fact that every day or every week a new problem arises that must be taken care of. In their mind they are focusing only on what led them to this situation and also tend to look for a reason such as someone to blame.
This is exactly where a thinking adjustment must be made. These are good people stuck in the problem and not living in the solution. When this financial challenge is recognized, an evaluation of how this developed and why we are experiencing it at this time, must be done. Then new thinking must occur to come up with a solution to the challenge. In the case of financial issues, some solutions could be to work overtime, work a second part time job for a while, get additional training or education to advance the career, and speak with someone who has resolved this same challenge and get their advice.
I believe when a challenge arises one of the best ways to think differently is to get another opinion. A fresh set of eyes on the challenge can bring many new solutions to the forefront. Most of us hesitate to ask for advice. For every challenge we face, someone has already faced it and overcome it. Having them tell us how they conquered the challenge can move us more quickly toward our own challenge resolution.
This discussion of solving issues in our lives is not earth shattering, or new, but it is not routinely undertaken by most people. The reason is that most people spend the majority of the time living in the problem (challenge) rather than living in the solution. Every one spends too much time explaining their problem to all of those around them. We have a bad habit of wallowing in self pity and self criticism.
Certainly many challenges can be emotionally painful and can set us back on our heels in significant ways. Unfortunately, most people never let go of the problem and therefore have little time to focus on it's resolution. Only when we accept the challenge, forgive ourselves if it was our fault, (and most of the time it is) can we then put all of our efforts into moving forward with our lives and come out on the other side in a better, stronger, and smarter position.
To summarize, See the problem as a challenge.
Determine if it is in our control
Get advice and think of a new and better plan
Take action on the solution
Focus and Live in the solution until the challenge is overcome
Lastly, when we go through this process for small and large challenges, we must learn the lesson. If we fail to learn the lesson of the challenge, then we are doomed to repeat the same problem again. I once had a patient who was with his fifth wife. He told me that each of his previous wives were hard to live with and presented nothing but problems in the relationship. I asked him if there was something in common with all his wives and he missed the point. Most likely he was the issue in each relationship or at least he was a poor choice maker. We often blame others and we should always look in the mirror first to see if therein lies the challenge. If so, the great news is that we can all be improved and we can live in our own solution each and every day.
From this point forward, each time a challenge raises it head, try this method of challenge resolution. You may find that life can be smoother and eventually less challenges will present themselves to you. Live in the Solution.