When you’re trying to find a solution it can be easy to get stuck on one particular path. You want to believe that you can work things out so you trudge on hoping for the best.
Maybe you tell yourself that if things aren’t working out then you’re not working hard enough.
But sometimes the truth is you need a different approach to the situation.
It can be difficult to open up to a new way of doing things, especially when you’ve been trying one set way for so long.
However, if you’re willing to do something different even if it doesn’t solve the problem, you’ll probably find yourself closer to the solution.
There is power in the meaning we attach to words.
The Bare Minimum Betty concept is something I came up with because I enjoy playing around with ideas and creating characters. But it’s about more than just a made up character that doesn’t go above and beyond.
What started as just part of my writing practice resulted in me reflecting on my own behaviour.
I began identifying moments in my life where I was being bare minimum, not in a critical way but in a gentle way. Like ‘oh, I could put in more effort here’ or ‘I can feel myself holding back’.
And in these moments of reflection I began to understand what it really means to be bare minimum.
It’s complaining or being frustrated with where you’re at because you’re not putting much effort in and not getting much back.
It’s going through life without letting your core self be seen.
It’s following instructions and not being willing to ask questions.
It’s being tossed about by the waves of life because you aren’t willing to pick up an oar.
It’s noticing a problem but waiting for someone else to offer a solution.
That’s not the kind of person I want to be, yet I like many others sometimes fall into being a bare minimum Betty.
But in recognising those things in myself I’m able to push past them. So, when I notice I’m holding back, I’ll push past those feelings and speak up.
On the flipside I’m also aware that some people are totally satisfied with being good enough or bare minimum that is totally okay as long as you don’t pretend you’re offering your best.
Which one are you?
The first kind is the one we all know and love (or perhaps just tolerate through excessive eye rolls). This person is problem focused. They find a problem with anything and everything.
What’s worse is if you offer a potential solution they’ll probably find a problem with that too.
The second person is solution focused. They’ll complain as a way to vent their frustrations but then they’ll move on and do something about it.
The first person never manages to progress nearly as much as the second.
A simple but useful exercise
Get a piece of paper and split it in 2 (or create a word document or excel spreadsheet). On one side write all your problems, the big, small and in-between.
Then the other side come up with a solution to each one.
In my experience, I’ve found that this lowers the feeling of overwhelm because once your problem has a solution it’s no longer such a big deal.
The problem could be that you’ve been feeling really tired lately. The solution to that could be getting more sleep by going to bed earlier or eating more nourishing food so that you have more energy throughout the day.
Or perhaps you don’t have enough time to work on your side projects. The solution could be to commit to setting 1hr aside every day. And to cut out or reduce other things that are taking up your time that aren’t important like Netflix.
Once you’re done you’ll have an action plan in front of you and if those problems are really bothering you’ll do something about it.
When you’re so focused and set on finding a solution to a problem it probably won’t come to you.
The answer will go over your head because you’re putting too much pressure on it. Imagine you have a container of water, if you put too much pressure on the water it’ll go up (as in over your head).
It usually works much better to remain calm, give yourself time and know that the answer will come.
And when you put too much pressure on the solution and try to figure it out before you’re ready you end up doing the ‘wrong thing’.
Whereas if you give yourself time the solution will just come to you in a moment of spontaneity when you least expect it.
You’ll be doing something like brushing your teeth, buttoning your shirt or eating lunch.
Then all of a sudden ta-da, there it is.