The biggest problem most people have is they think they should not have problems. The reality is life is not designed this way. No one ever wishes for problems. But through the process of going about living our lives and doing the best we can with what we know we make mistakes, delay things that require immediate attention, neglect some things and the action of others may leave us with problems that affect our lives and causes us additional stress.
I remember reading a story about a man who was complaining and getting angry about how he hated life because it’s full of problems. And a wise older gentleman that was standing beside him turned to him and said, “You know the only place where people don’t have problems is the cemetery. If you want a life without problems, then that’s where you need to go and check yourself in.”, He then proceeded and said, “Problems are a sign of life.” If problems are a sign of life, then life and problems are not separated, and they must exist to serve us. So what must we do when the same things we wish not to happen happened? How do we deal with the simple and sometimes complex problems we face in our personal and professional lives?
The Purpose of Problems in our lives:
Why do we have problems? Is there a purpose that problems serve in our lives? I believe there is. When people are going through a season of what appears to be unending struggles, they tend to see and feel life is hell. And when everything seems like perfect in their lives their capacities for appreciation and gratitude massively diminish and they start taking things for granted. We often get too comfortable; we stop learning, stop growing; we become complacent and develop a false sense of certainty that we know how life is and how it works. The meaning and purpose of problems in our lives is that they are triggers calling and nudging us to challenge ourselves, to open our minds, to learn, to grow and to expand ourselves. Without problems, most of us will shrink mentally, emotionally, economically and spiritually. In life when you stop growing you start dying. This is a natural law. A problem in your life means it’s time to change. The areas of your life where you have the biggest challenges are the areas where change and growth are urgently needed the most now! You can’t move to the next level of your happiness and success unless you solve the problems you created at this present level of your life. Problems are our gymnasium for sculpting and refining our psychological, emotional and spiritual muscles to become better and more. Your problems are your catalysts for growth. Remember diamonds became so precious and valuable because of the intense pressure they went through during the mining process. To build muscles, you must push through a massive amount of resistance (weights). Your problems are gifts to inspire you to change, grow and become more. How do we then reconcile between life and some of the inevitable problems so we can have a deeper meaning for our lives, consistently growing and feeling fulfilled?
Here are five steps to help you take immediate control of your life, grow from your problems and become better through them.
Step 1: Be Proactive
The best way to have and live the life you deserve and one that you don’t have many unexpected problems is to be proactive. Anticipate challenges, catch problems when they are small, before they become “problems” and then solve them in advance. If your children are young then think ahead, they are going to grow up and will go to university someday. Start saving now. “Prevention is better than cure.” – Cameroon proverb.
Step 2: Identify, Own up and Define the Problem:
Problems can overwhelm all of us and paralyse our abilities unless we identify, own up and define the nature and scope of what that problem is before we can solve it.
From an NLP Model of Thinking you can not solve a problem you do not know exist or deny you have. To solve your problems, you must be honest with yourself and own up that you have a problem. Don’t deny you have a problem. If you are overweight, tell yourself the truth about how overweight you are. If you are in debt, own up and be honest with yourself about how much money you owed. Is your relationship or marriage falling apart? Then it’s time you stop kidding yourself and acknowledge the severity of the problem. For any long-term change to take place, you must first take ownership and responsibility of your problem. Without ownership and responsibility, there will be no drive to do whatever it takes to implement lasting change and live the life you deserve.
By identifying, owning and defining the problems you’ve done 95% of what is required to solve it. The solutions most often present themselves the moment you identify and define the problem. For you to have a clear picture and a greater understanding of what exactly the problem is, it’s vital to examine all the elements and as well as gather all the information and facts. If you own a business, or you are married, gather the key people together ask for everyone’s view so you can get a better perspective of the problem.
Recently I was called for a strategic intervention as a last resort to help a couple that tried all kind of marriage counselling, and nothing was working. When I showed up in their home, I called for a family roundtable conference with all their children present. By asking each of the children what they thought was the real problem that was causing their parents to want to go their separate ways helped us uncover a greater perspective of the problems. By getting all views of the problem we were able accurately identified, helped them owned and defined the problem. This was the 95% effort that enabled us to not only solve the problem but to create a breakthrough.
3: Make it simple:
Most people make their problem so complex that solving it becomes
impossible. Nothing paralyzes thinking than complexity. Simplicity brings clarity. Clarity wipes out the clutter of complexity and unearths the simple solutions we need to solve our problems. Simplify; chunk the problems down in a way that you can do something about it, in a way that you can start taking immediate action on it.
4: Create a step by step action plan:
Once you have identified the simple and practical solution to your problems, the next best thing to do is to break the solution into a step by step action plan. Create the solution and make it that you know the A, B, C process of the solution. Then start immediately with the very first step. Every problem no matters its size can be solved when it’s broken down into simple bite-size steps.
5: Learn from your problem and grow:
Be your own best student. Study yourself and your patterns that created your difficulties in the first place. A core belief in NLP is that you can learn, grow and benefit from whatever happens to you. Learn from your errors whether they are perceptual, emotional or behavioural. The only way your problems become a greater benefit in your life is when you learn the life’s lessons they came to teach. Make sure you do not create the same problem again in your future. And the best way to do this is for you to invest in your personal development education on an ongoing basis. Which gives you the power to better equip yourself to continuously grow, expand yourself and your life’s skills that will take you to the next level of your success and happiness.
“Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more knowledge and more skills.” – Jim Rohn
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