In life you are going to experience problems. It’s true, can’t change it, best we get that fact over and done with right up front. It’s life, we’re human, we deal with it.
The degree with which we experience problems however, can be changed. As Stephanie Dowrick puts it, we can be “ruthlessly discerning” about the problems that cross our path.
How? Ask better questions.
“Is this something that I can do something about – or not?”
If you can do nothing about it, why are you holding on to it? Let it go.
When you can do something about it, the problem becomes a ‘situation’ or ‘a challenge’ that you can meet using your experience, values and insights.
Here are 3 lessons I have learnt about problem solving:
I. Ask Better Questions
What’s needed here?
How would a wise and experienced person deal with this situation?
What is this situation asking of me?
What needs to happen for me to be the person I need to be to solve this?
Instead, what do we often ask ourselves?
… why does this always happen to me
… every time I try and do something, I get knocked back down, what the point
… why can’t I get this
… why am constantly reminded that I’m not good enough
These questions lead to poor responses and offer no insight or assistance into the solving of the situation at hand.
If the situation is tough and complex, write down the questions and spend time writing out the answers. Let the crap emerge, then the gold.
2. Don’t Play Host To A Pity Party
Make the decision that you won’t add pain to the problem by beating yourself up, dwelling on the problem or rehearsing your total hopelessness, incompetence, stupidity etc . That just guarantees misery.
Play with the situation. Yes it’s likely to be challenging and is probably raising some uncomfortable feelings. I’m not suggesting you ignore those feelings; we need them, we want to feel them, we just don’t want them to play host to a pity party.
Honour your feelings, acknowledge them, then respect them by shifting your attention to the positive.
Paying attention to what’s needed, and taking appropriate action, right now, guarantees a burst of energy and lifting of spirits as your creativity ignites.
3. Release the Need to Identify With Your Problems
Give up identifying with your problems. This means giving up describing yourself using ‘problem’ terms, talking incessantly about your problems, ‘watering them’ with your attention and ‘growing them’ in your mind.
“there’s always some problem I have to take care of”
“it’s always me that has to sort it out”
“nothing ever goes smoothly”
I’ve said it to myself before – no one’s coming to your pity party honey, it makes everyone feel like crap and let’s face it, there are delightful experiences to be had, why waste those precious moments wallowing?
Now a solution soirée? Baby I’m there!
So next time you come across a problem, view it as a situation, a challenge and rise to it.
Try these on for size:
See yourself as someone who can meet complex situations as they arise
Hold the belief that you are someone who is unafraid to meet life
Focus on what’s needed in the present moment, not two days or two years from now.
Know that when your mind is less cluttered by fear and second-guessing, you can deal with real situations far more effectively.
Know that all the strengths, values and insights you need already live in you. You have only to activate them.
What can I do to learn from this situation?
What past experiences can I draw on?
feel far out of my control – what can I do about it?
What values, qualities and beliefs do I need to help me?
How am I goingto put them in to practice Do I need support? How do I get that?
What question am I not asking?
What issue am I not seeing? – sit with these questions and allow your subconscious to answer.
Take the time now to think of a challenge or situation you have right now. Download the worksheet below and give yourself some time to go through the questions. Allow the muck to emerge, it will be followed closely by insight.
With delightful love & a thirst for good questions,