I recently found myself with a problem.
My initial instinct was to solve it.
I found myself focusing my efforts and energy on figuring out the best solution but at the same time, I felt stuck.
Then suddenly, it occurred to me that I could just do nothing. This problem was the sort of thing that wouldn’t matter in the years to come, it also wasn’t urgent. Whether I took action right away or in a couple weeks would make no real difference.
So, I decided to do nothing which felt strange at first but it was also liberating.
When you’re used to something, you can end up creating situations in your life where you get more of it, even when it’s not helpful.
I recently had a conversation about a problem. From my perspective it was fairly easy to solve. From the perspective of the person I was with it was something challenging, the sort of thing to go back and forth and around and around about without actually finding a solution.
An easy way to work through solving your problems is to establish where you’re at and where you want to be. Then, fill in the gaps. What can you do to get to where you want to be?
But we sometimes end up making things difficult for ourselves. We get so wrapped up in the problem that we’re not even really trying to solve it. We’re not stuck because we can’t solve the problem, we’re stuck because we’re addicted to limbo.
This is why you can sit and talk with someone who is upset or frustrated and even when they ask for your advice and you offer it. They just go right back to the problem.
And the thing is, it gets boring and even exhausting to listen to after a while. Nobody wants to sit and listen to someone complain about something they aren’t even trying to change.
Often in life when we’re going through a difficult time or something unideal happens we end up feeling stuck. We think it’s because our situation is just so awful and terrible. However, often we end up stuck because we aren’t putting enough of our effort and energy into the solution.
For example, lets say you got made redundant. You then spend the following days or weeks talking about how you didn’t deserve it, how X person should have been let go instead of you, that it’s not fair, you’ve been hard done by, it’s ruined your life, constantly dropping your redundancy into conversations and wallowing in self pity.
As much as it’s important to acknowledge a difficult situation, there’s little to no benefit in dwelling.
Instead, you could focus on moving forward and getting a new job. That could involve updating your CV, researching companies to apply at, filling out job applications or thinking about what you want your next career step to be.
A new job might not come come quicker but I think that being pro-active can do wonders for boosting your morale.
…is that one day you won’t get picked.
If the progression and pathways in your life have thus far been based on people picking you, it probably feels pretty fantastic.
But, what happens when you don’t get picked.
When we become reliant on other people determining our fate for us, we end up feeling lost or stuck when we have to make choices for ourselves.
And so we have to learn to pick ourselves.
In order to find the solution to a problem, it often takes trial and error. Sure, the first thing might work but not always.
Trial and error requires you to be willing to embrace uncertainty, take risks and persevere. However, often in life we’re not willing to do those things as much as we could or even should. And so our problems remain.
It has nothing to do with our problems being difficult or challenging. Instead we simply aren’t willing to try something that might not work, so we simply don’t try at all.
I think it’s fair to say that sometimes we’d rather be comfortable and complain than push ourselves. It’s not a bad thing to be able to admit it, infact I think it’s good to be able to pick up on these habits if you have them.
A common example of where this occurs is the work place. You have an issue to deal with and instead of sorting out the issue by facing it head on, you skirt around it.
Perhaps you’ve even had times of venting to someone but when they offered you suggestions you ignored them because you weren’t ready.
And sometimes that’s the simple truth, you need more time.
So, complain and stay stagnant for a little longer, just until you can take it no more.
Then either you take a leap and do what needs to be done or someone gives you a push. If it’s the latter it might not feel so good in the moment but it will benefit you in the long run.
One of the mistakes we often make is thinking that there is only one solution to every problem. And so, when the way a person chooses to solve a problem does not match up with what we believe the solution to be we can end up being critical and telling them they are wrong.
In these cases, what we are actually doing is forcing our beliefs, opinions and perceptions onto other people. The reality more often than not is that you and this person perceive things differently, it’s not that anyone is wrong or right.
I think that this is something worth remembering. A lot of people find it so easy to be critical of others and tell them what they should or shouldn’t have done.
But the truth is, it’s simply a matter of perception.
Every once in a while I am reminded of the power of taking a walk in nature.
It is calming, refreshing, relaxing and simple.
If you haven’t done it for a while, I’d recommend it.
You’ll often find that some of the most helpful things are the cheapest, easiest and most accessible. But instead we end up looking to things that are expensive, difficult and challenging to obtain.
I think the reason for this is that we assume that big problems will require big solutions. Or if you’re not ready to work at something, you can use the excuse of the solution being out of reach, something you don’t have access to.
It can be difficult to comprehend that the very thing you need to help make things better, is something you can do right now.
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.