Clarify the Problem

“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”

Eric Hoffer, philosopher

If I were asked to sum up yesterday’s post, The Cost of Lying to Yourself, with a single word, it would be self-honesty. (A hyphenated single word, but still…)

Avoiding or brushing off problems only makes them bigger.

But how do you solve a problem (like Maria)?

Well, first you have to look at the problem with a clear perspective. Any problem (really, anything) is the thing itself and also (additionally) how we think about it.

I’m a big fan of Kamal‘s approach to handling your mind if it’s running away from you fueled with negative and discouraging thoughts. In his book, Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It, the mental tool he discovered and found success within his own life was repeating the phrase “I love myself” over and over again. Think of it like drowning out the negativity by repeating something positive instead.

With a clearer perspective, we can get out of our own way and start making some progress towards resolving problems we are dealing with.

Next, we break the problem into non-overwhelming bite-sized chunks that we can focus our efforts on. If you’re still overwhelmed, then you haven’t broken the problem small enough yet. Baby steps. Just like that What About Bob Movie with Bill Murray.

The key is to focus only on the immediate action. Not the ten things on your todo list. Not the dozen other problems you are dealing with. Just the action in front of you. Keep the others away from your mind and physical space as much as you can.

Last we need to start catching little problems before they become big ones. This takes a lot of intentional living. When faced with anything, ask yourself, “If I ignore this will it potential become a huge pain later on?” “If I do this, what are the potential downsides and how can I prevent them from occurring?”

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1076

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Trying Times

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

Albert Einstein

I loved making Rube Goldberg machines when I was growing up (because of The Goonies and Back to The Future, of course). If you’re not familiar, it’s where you create a “machine” or series of eclectic bits-and-bobs lying around the house to perform a simple task unexpectedly and ridiculously.

Mine were never as intricate as this amazing thing—I mostly just used legos, but it was still loads of fun.

A domino effect is “the cumulative effect produced when one event sets off a chain of similar events.” It’s a chain where A leads to B leads D and G, and so on.

I don’t know if you’ve looked at the news lately (😝) but there’s quite a lot of things going on right now. (Understatement of the century, perhaps?) Life was moving quickly before the pandemic, but now it feels like we’ve been kicked into high gear. Many stressors are being tossed at as a once, some within our control, some out of our control, but no matter what life throws our way, it does us no good to lose our wit and give in to chaos or unhelpful thoughts.

When faced with multiple problems, when dealing with trying times, the best we can do is focus our efforts on one thing at a time. Fretting over a giant list of todo’s or bouncing around (like a beachball at a Nickelback concert) from one problem to the next wastes our time and energy. By focusing our efforts on one problem, one task at a time, we can stress less over the other things we need to do, and instead, give our full immediate attention to the thing in front of us.

Better yet, we can prioritize our next action to be something that eliminates or checks off other future actions.

What’s one problem you can do focus on this very moment, that will solve/prevent multiple other problems in advance?

as Henry Ford once said, “There are no big problems, there are just a lot of little problems.”

The best thing we can do is to catch problems before they happen. The next best thing is to solve them with they are small and manageable. And if a problem is already massive, then we have to break it into smaller and smaller parts until we again can tackle each small problem one at a time. This won’t always be neat and proper. Sometimes we might have to do this on the fly by the seat of our pants.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1014

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