Problems are normal and will always be there.
You may have big problems, small problems, or multiple problems, but either way they can be distracting and overwhelming.
However, the better you get at resolving them the less they will impact you. Instead of fearing or avoiding problems, you will face them and work through them.
And eventually “big” problems won’t seem so bad anymore.
So of course you probably can’t avoid problems forever, but when you learn to solve them you can change and control how you react to them.
“Unless you have bad times, you can’t appreciate the good times.” – Joe Torre
What is actually the problem?
Sometimes when someone has a problem, it’s not as it seems.
The things you think are a problem are just the symptoms of the actual problem.
For example, let’s say you missed a few bill payments. So on the surface that looks like the problem, but really the problem is that you’re not keeping track of your payments and/or not making enough money.
Similarly, let’s say someone has a health problem such as heart disease or something similar. The true problem is probably their diet, lack of physical activity, and constant stress.
Finding the actual problem is important because it allows you to actually resolve the problem.
You may even realize that whatever you are facing is not a problem at all, you’re just thinking thoughts that make it so.
Are you just making this a problem?
You may not even need to find a solution. You can just let it go.
To figure out the real problem, break it down into smaller pieces. Then you will be able to see your next steps to come to a solution.
Think of this problem like a puzzle. You probably start with the flat edges first, then move to the area with obvious colors, and eventually everything is put together.
Determine what you can/cannot control
You may or may not have control of the problem you are facing. Chances are there will be both.
When a problem arises, make a list of the things you can control and cannot control.
Let’s use the example from above.
Problem: Missed several bill payments.
- Tracking your spending
- Setting up auto payments
- Educating yourself on finances
- Calling lenders to see if they can remove any late fees/reports
- The financial choices you make going forward
- Applying to jobs
- Your money mindset
- Reaching out to a financial adviser
- The past
- What the lender representative will do/allow
- What is going to happen to your credit score (but going forward you can)
- Getting hired
With this exercise you’ll often find there are either many things you can control and act on OR only ONE thing you can control: how you react/think.
And once you determine the things you cannot control, that’s it. Move on.
Otherwise you dwell and worry about things that you literally can’t do anything about.
I do this anytime a problem is really affecting me. Even if you know in your head the things you can/cannot control, it helps so much to write them down on paper.
Shift your perspective
When you’re right in the middle of a problem, it can be hard to focus on anything else. However, shifting your perspective will open your mind up to finding a solution faster.
How you think and talk is powerful.
First, it helps to look at your problem as a challenge instead. This is just an obstacle in the road or a mountain that needs to be climbed.
Overcoming this challenge is going to make you stronger, wiser, and more resilient. So keep that in mind.
Also shift how you’re thinking/talking about the problem.
Saying, “I can’t do this,” or “Why me?” creates a scarcity and victim mindset. Neither of which will serve you.
I wouldn’t expect you to see rainbows and lilies surrounding the issue, but being negative won’t help at all.
Find the positives
Look for the positives in the situation.
Like I said before, no one expects you to be happy and excited about a problem, but finding positive things within it also helps you to see this as a challenge and part of your journey.
Some positive things you may find:
- I am learning so much
- I learned my lesson
- I am growing (wiser, as a person, etc.)
- I can look back on this and be proud I overcame it
- My life is changing for the better
- I will know what to do if this arises again
- I’m grateful this isn’t worse
- My relationship is improving with ___ because of this
You can find a silver lining in just about everything.
Determine the ideal solution
Aside from the problem not existing, determine the ideal solution.
You could possibly fix the problem quickly, but the underlying issue may still be present.
When you stop to think of what the best case scenario would be, you’re more likely to find what is necessary to resolve it.
From there, you can determine if that solution is in your control, how much time/effort is required, the action steps to get there, and so on.
Remember, your ideal solution may not occur, but you can at least aim for that.
When you’re going through a problem it can be easy to blame others.
Taking responsibility of the problem does not mean you’re taking fault. It may or may not be your fault, it doesn’t really matter.
You also don’t need to blame yourself.
All that matters is there IS a problem and you get to decide what to do about it. When you take responsibility you accept the problem and commit to resolving it.
That is exactly why taking responsibility is key here. If you don’t take responsibility you lose your power…you would think there is nothing you can improve or change.
Implement changes and take the necessary action to solve the problem.
Solving a problem is similar to achieving a goal.
And when going after that goal the most important thing are the systems in getting there. The same applies here.
Empower yourself to make your life better by recognizing you have a lot more control than you think.