When you have a problem that you’re working to overcome, where do you focus your efforts?
Often we end up priotising the problem because we think we need to assess, analyse, dissect and understand every little bit of it before we can move forward.
However, it turns out that you’re much better off prioritising the solution.
For example, if the problem is that it’s raining the solution might be to open you’re umbrella, put on a hood or find shelter. However, if you’re just focused on the issue of rain you’re likely to end up frustrated because you’re clothes are getting wet.
The problem already exists and focusing on it only allows it to grow further and further. On the other hand, the solution is unknown and it requires your efforts (or energy) to bring it to life.
In some situations you might find that that there is a discord between what you want and the outcome you get.
If you’re unsure if this applies to you, think about some of your recent encounters with people.
What did you want?
What was the outcome?
Were you happy with the way things turned out?
It’s worth noting that what you want and the outcome don’t have to align completely. Sometimes you end up happy with the way things turn out even when it’s different to what you originally wanted.
But when you find yourself discontent with the outcome, the reason more often than you might think is your choice of words.
People often talk about how it’s good to open up, to let people know how you feel and be vulnerable.
However, it’s important to add if you don’t take the time to word things thoughtfully the outcome can be just as unhelpful as it would be if you say nothing at all.
What do you do when the worst possible thing happens.
And by worst possible thing I mean something unanticipated, something that you didn’t plan for that throws you off course.
The common and perhaps most easiest way to react is panic.
Like a sort of ‘Oh my goodness, what I am I gonna do, everything is going wrong, this has gotta be liek the worst possible thing, what am I gonna do now?’
Turns out the popular and easy reaction isn’t particularly helpful.
Instead my experience has taught me that the much more useful thing to is think. Go through the possible scenarios and come up with a solution. Once you’re able to remove some of uncertainty suddenly the worst possible thing isn’t so bad.
Granted you can’t control how things will turn out. However, what you can do is remind yourself that you are capable of overcoming the unexpected.
In challenging times it can be difficult to look to the future and think about all the possibilities. Your mind will be going round in circles and you’ll be asking yourself questions like:
How can I get there when there is all this stuff going on right now?
When you’re caught up in a challenging situation it can be hard to see past it, especially when you have no idea how you’ll overcome it.
But, if you start with believing you can figure things out and then try and work towards a solution, you might find that you’re more capable than you thought.
Sometimes you just need to against the easy option.
Panic is really easy to do. A moment of stress or overwhelm often ends in panic when you don’t know how to handle the situation.
If you find yourself panicking in these situations often, it’ll eventually become a habit. Even when you can handle the situation if you give yourself patience, once you get used to going into panic mode it’ll end up happening at any opportunity.
So, you have to teach yourself not to panic.
It mainly takes patience but you also have to be able to catch yourself in the moment before you start to freak out.
You have to remind yourself that the situation isn’t too much for you and that you’re capable of coming up with a solution.
Some things in life are difficult to solve.
There are lots of factors to consider, plus you have to find something that works for people that don’t think the same way.
What works for one won’t necessarily for everyone else. The great idea you had might not work.
And that is not just my opinion but instead some thoughts relating to some of the challenges we face as a society.
The solution isn’t to try and please everyone. I think the solution would be to do what feels right and focus on how you can make a positive impact.
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.