There is a lesson in every problem. Problems are not to break us; they are there to make us strong. Look for them and learn from them.
A lot of us stay stuck in the problem and ask ourselves, “Why me?” Asking, “Why me?” is a waste of time! Get rid of the “why” question. It only makes you defend your position. Defending a position that got us in the problem in the first place doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
Our first knee-jerk reaction is usually to ask why. Don’t ask why, ask how. Asking how we can solve the problem works better. Immediately asking how has us begin to seek information that will assist us in solving the problem. Asking how creates forward motion. The why of something lives in the past. The how of something is now.
It is infinitely more wise to experience problems as those situations which lure you on to self-discovery than to be stopped by the unpleasantness of the circumstances and be shut down to the possibilities the problem presents. There are no accidents. Problems occur for a reason. It is sometimes difficult to find the good in what appears to be all bad. There are important lessons to be learned in every circumstance. Remember, problems by design are repetitive. They come back if you don’t learn from them and do something to prevent their reoccurrence.
Many people go into denial when a problem occurs. They think that if they pretend it isn’t there, it will go away. Do problems go away? No! Problems only go away when you invent solutions and then take specific actions intended to move you through the problem.
Four Steps to Getting Unstuck From Problems
Step one ~ Acknowledge you have a problem
Step two ~ Ask yourself, “What am I committed to that has this be a problem?” If you determine that there is a commitment that the problem is getting in the way of, you know you have a problem.
Step three ~ Study your options. Look at all of the possibilities. Consider many solutions not just one. Do this quickly.
Step four ~ Do something that is consistent with your commitment. Focus on the solution.
One of the smartest things you can do when a problem occurs is to first acknowledge that it happened. Say to yourself, “I have a problem. The problem is. . .” and state the problem. Sounds so simple, yet many of us refuse to acknowledge our problems and in doing so, we subconsciously hold onto the problem.
Next, examine what you are committed to that has it be a problem. This is the second step. This step is the test to determine if it really is a problem. If there is no commitment, there is no problem.
Step number three is to study your options. Look at all of the possibilities. Don’t just look for an answer; look for many answers. Pick one that will work.
Finally, the fourth and most important step is to do something that is consistent with your commitment.
“We need to get over the questions that focus on the past and on the pain – ‘Why did this happen to me?’ – and ask instead the question which opens doors to the future: ‘Now that this has happened, what shall I do about it?'” ~ Rabbi Harold Kushner
In other words, focus on a solution right now. Not later, when you feel like it. By then the problem will dominate your thinking and you will never feel like facing it. Not later, after you have told everyone in the world about your problem, but right now. Your partner or friends would probably have a different feeling about you if you would wait and tell them about this wonderful problem you had and then tell them how you handled it! The mind that has the ability to notice problems and to look at what your commitments are also has the ability to create a solution to your problems. Joyce Hifler said, “Thrashing around in your mind does about as much good as trying to empty an ocean with a paper cup. Quiet your mind and solutions will come.”
Let’s say that you have a flat tire on the way to an important meeting. Most of us would call a flat tire a problem. Kick the tire if it will make you feel better, and immediately acknowledge that you have a problem. What is your commitment that has a flat tire be a problem? It could be that you are committed to keeping your word about being on time. Or it could be that you are committed to not getting your hands dirty. Regardless of the commitment, the quicker you begin to work on a solution, the better off you will be. Study your options. Get on your cellular phone or walk to a pay phone and call to let your appointment know you will be running a little late. Reschedule if you must, but get started on fixing the problem. Next, get the tire fixed. Call AAA. Whatever. Don’t anguish over it, do something about it.
Doing something brings possibility to the situation. You can’t expect the situation to present the possibility, although the situation can, with a high degree of reliability, point in the direction of the solution. And you have to look for it. You create your own possibilities. You alone are responsible.
Refuse to allow the problem to affect you for very long. It won’t when you know the secret of how to get unstuck. Don’t get mad; be glad you have an opportunity to demonstrate who you are. Anger stops you in your tracks. Anger is natural when challenges come. Staying angry about a problem is not good for your mental health. Someone once said, “Anger is a wind which blows out the lamp of the mind.”
You can’t think straight when you are angry. Allow a cooling off period before you delve into solving the problem. The Bible says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” When you lose your temper, you lose the ability to think sensibly and to make balanced decisions. Give up being angry. Being angry is a choice. Who you are, is someone that is bigger than the problem.
Learning to get unstuck from your problems with this four-step method could be one of the most important lessons you could learn from reading this blog. Use this method and it will help bring you peace of mind. Now that you have discovered a way to give yourself more time to focus on the things you want, doesn’t it make sense to implement the idea immediately? If you want to shorten your “bounce-back” time, do it now.
The fundamental design of a bright future must be to focus each day on the study of things what will shorten your “bounce-back” time. Let’s define “bounce-back” time as the amount of time it takes you to recover from a problem. Recovery is a process.
You can never solve all of your problems at once. Resolve only the things that demand your immediate attention. Tackle them now. You must set priorities on finding solutions to problems. First things first.
Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.
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