Solving simple problems

I love the idea that simple things can be done to solve or reduce problems that significantly impact us.

Whilst on a walk, I pondered on a problem I knew how to solve but had avoided. Yet, I was aware that if I did nothing, I’d get the repercussions later and potentially feel frustrated at myself and the other people involved.

When the thing that is bothering us involves other people, it is often the part of us that wants to people please, keep the peace and manage other people’s feelings that stops us saying something. It’s to the point where we’d rather experience discomfort and allow something we aren’t okay with.

That’s not a healthy or helpful way to live.

On my walk, I thought about a way to overcome this issue

Firstly make a table. In the first column, write a list of problems, challenges or anything that is bothering you.

Next, write what’s stopping you solve things.

Then, for each problem write a solution, some way to fix or reduce the problem. If you find this difficult, imagine your most confident, self assured and empowered self. What would they do, how would they solve this problem?

The next step is to pick a problem and follow what you wrote on how solve it.

This is an important lesson in problem solving. Like the NLP presupposition goes ‘if something isn’t working, do something else’.

If you’ve taken a do nothing approach and find that the problem still persists, try something else.

I also think it’s incredibly helpful to come up with a solution from the perspective of your most confident, self assured and empowered self because it’s probably what you’re working to embody.

Once you start taking action, aside from the expected discomfort of doing something new, you’ll probably find that you’re seemingly burdensome problems were actually pretty simple to solve.

What needs to change?

Think about all the things that are currently bothering you, contribute to you feeling stuck or just causing a problem in your life. Write them down one by one.

Now go through each of them and think about what needs to change in order to overcome the problem. Then, write it down.

If you’re not sure, give yourself options. It could be 2 possible solutions or it could be 10.

The purpose of the exercise is to remind you that although you may feel stuck, all of your problems have solutions.

Complaint without action

Complaints can be categorised into 2 groups, things you can change and things you can’t change.

If you are able to sort the issue that feel the need to complain about, it’s probably not worth the effort to complain. Instead take action, do something about it.

Lets say that you’re cold. You could fix this by putting on another layer or closing the window. But instead you choose to complain. Maybe you’re usually the one that has to close the window and you want someone else to do it for a change.

If you can easily fix something that bothers you and you choose to do nothing then maybe you don’t actually care, maybe you just like complaining. I think that can be a difficult thing to admit but it’s the truth for many people even if it’s just for something small.

And sometimes the case is that you care but you want someone else to fix the problem. Perhaps you feel like it’s always on you.

However, as much as that’s understandable, it is also of very little benefit to you.

Big problems and small solutions

Sometimes we assume that the solution to a problem has to be complicated. We overlook the little things forgetting how big an impact can be caused by something small.

And so we go in search of something complicated but to no avail. Then the problem continues and maybe even grows which causes us to become more frustrated.

Until finally we decide to start small, to have a conversation, to go to bed a little earlier or to drink more water.

In time the problem will begin to dissolve until suddenly it’s gone. However, it’s important to remember that these small solutions aren’t quick fixes. It could take weeks of conversations to fix a big problem.

Finding a solution to the problem

When it comes to solving problems, there is a big difference between finding a solution and finding a solution to the problem.

When we’re simply just finding a solution we tend to come up with things that are short-term, quick to do and don’t really address the issue.

Lets take the example of being upset with someone. Now imagine that the solution you choose is to go off and take space until you’re no longer upset. Then, by the time you come back to the other person you’re now totally over it. That is a potential solution but it doesn’t actually solve anything.

A solution to that problem could instead be still taking space if you need it but then also voicing to the other person how you felt about their actions. That way you create space for discussion rather than being closed off and holding things in.

And so the next time you have a problem to solve don’t just find a solution, find a solution that is right for the problem.