Like fears, one of the things most of us run away from is our problems. We look at this thing that we can’t see a way over, under, or round of, and it stops us in our tracks. Looking forward or backward from there, the path to retreat is the easier of the two options. It’s easier to give up, to say we tried our best and it was too hard, and run back to our safe space. – We could have done that thing but that big bad problem got in our way.
But is that the best path to choose? Here are 5 things to keep in mind when it comes to problems…
1 – Life Is An Endless Problem We Need To Solve
If there’s one thing about this life it’s that we didn’t get a manual on entry. And because of that, we’re always on the path of trying things out and seeing what works and doesn’t. We fell over as a kid when learning to walk. We babbled nonsense until we spoke our first words. We scrapped our knees learning to run. We kissed a lot of frogs on the way to finding our prince or princess.
But each of those problems was one that we got through. We’re walking, talking, running, and probably spending our days with someone that makes life better.
So if you’re faced with a problem right now, I’ve got good and bad news. This one is just another spot on the journey. Once you get past it you’ll find more along the way.
2 – We Live In A World Of Opposites
This world we live in is one filled with opposites. Up, down. Left, right. Big, small. Dark, light. This means that for every problem there’s a solution. If there was no problem there wouldn’t be a solution. And most of the things we take for granted are solutions to problems we once had.
How do we keep food fresh? How can we travel further and faster than going on foot? How can we talk to someone on the other side of the world? How do we recreate the power of the sun to make power?
If there weren’t a solution to any of those problems we wouldn’t have any of the gadgets, appliances, vehicles, and power that we now have. But at one point they were a problem that someone had to find an answer to. Just because you can’t see a solution right now, doesn’t mean that there isn’t one. Your problem couldn’t exist without a solution.
3 – Everyone Has Problems
We like to think we’re the only ones with problems, but throw a rock in any direction and we’ll hit someone that’s in a worse situation than we are. And the problem we have probably doesn’t match up to one that someone else has right now.
It’s easy for us to believe that we’re the only one singled out, but you can almost be guaranteed that someone else had the problem you have and came up with a solution to solve it. – Which is good news. It means you can leapfrog over all the trails and errors they made to get there. Instead of holding a pity party, find out how they did it and use that solution.
4 – No One Grows Without Problems
If you want a bigger muscle, it’s going to mean lifting a heavier weight. Each time you increase the poundage you force the muscle to work harder, making it grow to cope with the new load. And once it gets there we reach a point where we can throw the weight around with very little effort.
We get that. But when it comes to life we look at life differently. Give me a smooth life. One with calm waters from start to finish. But how does that help you? How does that prepare you for when you’re suddenly thrown in at the deep end and you’ve never learned how to swim. – It can’t.
While none of us likes to be in a situation that we can’t see a way out of, it’s there to make you grow. It’s going to ask us to think in new ways. To get out of our comfort zone. To look at our life and what we do in a new way. Why? Because it knows that the person that stands up to it, grows from it. It’s there to test you. To ask if that’s all you’ve got. And like a drill sergeant on a training ground, it’s going to push you to see if you’re really serious about that goal of yours.
5 – Stop Looking At The Problem
We’d never look at the wrong point on a map if we were going somewhere else. If I keep looking at Belfast, it’s never going to get me to Dublin. – Especially when it’s 100 miles in the opposite direction. And the longer I’m focused there, the less chance there is of me getting to Dublin.
Yet, how many of us stare at our problem and not the solution? We tell our brains repeatedly this is what’s going wrong and we wonder why it keeps showing us how big our problem is.
It’s like not thinking of a pink elephant and that is all we see. ‘Not the pink elephant, not the pink elephant’ we say to ourselves and each time it’s the only thing we can picture. We never think of giving it somewhere better to focus on instead, like focusing on the solution.
What would be the answer to my question? What would be a better way to do this? Has anyone overcome this problem anywhere else? Each of those questions changes the direction of our thinking. We go from problems to possible solutions. We go from negative to partially positive. That there might be a way out of this problem we have. That maybe, we haven’t looked at all the angles. That’s when our brain turns 180 and sets off on a more useful path than the one we’ve given it.
None of us likes a problem. A cul de sac on the way to achieving a goal. But it could be just what you need right now. Something to wake you up, to make you think differently, or to take actions you’ve been afraid to take. The pressure you’re under right now might just be what you need to change you. It is how diamonds are formed. And we know how rare they are.
Lean into your problem. You’re going to learn a lot about yourself.