One of the things we will all encounter as we strive to create value and impact our generations in our own God given ways, is problems. I would like to think of them as a part of life necessary for smoothing life’s rough edges and if you aren’t already having any, brace up for they will come in due time. In order to prepare you for such a time, which I am positive will come; a couple of truths to help you – us, will be outlined.
When we hear the word problems, it seems to always imply a negative situation. Something that seems to make us squirm and feel upset, but here are a few facts about problems I think we all should know:
Fact #1: We live in a problem ridden world. I guess what this means is everybody has problems; some might just appear more severe than others while others conceal theirs. No life is problem free.
Fact #2: We all have problems; some people just approach and handle theirs differently. And that makes all the difference – not how big the problem may appear to be, but how you handle it.
Fact #3: You are not the first to be in that particular situation. Someone has been where you are now and if they made it pass that level, you can too if you approach the problem the right way.
Fact #4: Problems are not always for the worst as many have often judged them. Sometimes, they only come to reveal to us what is missing, or what needs to be changed. And in almost all cases, problems properly handled are the real molders of character, tenacity and perseverance as well as the breeding grounds for great innovations.
Fact #5: Problems or challenges in general help expand our thinking abilities, explore our creativity and unlock hidden potentials. Once a problem is identified, the process of looking for a solution is always characterized by high levels of thought and creativity, things we will hardly ever do unless a reason presents itself.
Fact #6: Problems, crisis or challenges are necessary if we must experience continuous growth and lasting success. They are the grounds on which seeds of greatness are planted, the anvils on which moral virtues are honed, the greatest teachers of the virtues of life.
Fact #7: Every Problem or “adversity” as Winston Churchill says, carries within it an equal or even greater opportunity. What this simply means is, problems are like gold coated with rust and debris. Once the debris is properly wiped off, the real gem will be released.
Fact #8: If there is a problem, there is an answer for that problem. That is the way nature works; cause and effect, sowing and reaping, action and reaction. So instead of beating about the bush, go out in search for the solution. Problems can be handled properly for the best of results.
Fact #9: Where there is a problem, there is an opportunity and the size of the problem often will equal the size of the reward – it could be monetary, a huge favor or a once in a life time opportunity, but there is a reward. Solve the problem and you will be rewarded. The bigger the problem, the greater the return will be if properly handled. The bigger the problem the greater the opportunity it carries. And your ability to solve a problem is what determines your reward. Success is the ability to solve problems.
Fact #10: Sometimes, problems are the access ways to new levels. It is often said that it is darkest before dawn. A problem at hand usually means there is a breakthrough right around the corner. Some say it is the test you write at the end of every session to qualify you for the next level. There is always something great on the other side of a problem. Just make sure you hold on till you get there.
These truths are meant to portray the true intents and maybe, importance of problems in our lives. As opposed to the myth that they are often out for the worst, these should make us see otherwise. I am not saying they are comfortable experiences, but I know they are necessary. No one leaves his comfort zone unless he or she is given a convincing reason to and I believe life actually starts outside ones comfort zone. If you stay in always, you really won’t find out what’s out there and for the most part, gifts, talents, and potentials – which are most often triggered in times of adversity, will go with you to the grave.
HOW TO CORRECTLY HANDLE A PROBLEM
Having accepted these truths, here are a couple of things to do or not to do when faced with a problem.
- Don’t result to pessimism
Many people immediately become negative, always expecting the worst when a problem arises. We must understand that our expectations as well as our thoughts play highly influencing roles on the outcomes of whatever situation we may be in. Who you are, where you are and what results you are getting out of life are primarily a function of your thoughts and actions.
Remember that you are not the first to have that problem and that not all problems are out for horrible outcomes. Often times, we are the ones who make these outcomes horrible by our thoughts and expectations. Approach your problems objectively with a clear head and instead of being pessimistic, always tell yourself; “if others have passed through this successfully, then I can too.” This does not solve the problem, but it keeps you calm and able to think objectively for the best possible solution. Being pessimistic is no way to solve a problem either, it only makes matters worse.
Remember: If others have successfully made it through even worse situations, and made it big, you can too.
- Don’t Panic
Other than being pessimistic, the next thing most people do when they realize there is a problem or that something is wrong is to go into a panic spree. You find them running up and down, and making an issue out of nothing. We are advised not to make a mountain out of a mole hill. If you would just calm down and relax, you will find that that problem is not as big of a deal as it appeared to be, and even if it was, you equally will begin to realize that you clearly can see ways to go about it now that you are calm. And remember: the bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity it carries.
- Decide to Handle the problem correctly
Your decision to do anything right (or wrong) or to choose to approach anything (challenge, activity or problem) in a particular way is the primary determinant of the kind of outcome you will get.
Remember we said there are two ways to handle a problem; the positive or objective way and the negative or figuratively pessimistic way. An objective person understands that every problem has a solution which when sought for and implemented correctly addresses the issue and leaves positive results. A pessimistic person always knows they are in for the worst; that if something bad doesn’t happen as a result of the problem, it must have been a miracle. They are the ones who often magnify problems, bringing with it an atmosphere of fear, anxiety, worry, panic and frustration – emotions which in no way, act as remedies to any crisis.
Deciding to handle a problem correctly – the objective way, is very important because as we said earlier, problems in themselves are not bad, it is how we approach and most importantly, react to or handle them that matters. When a problem comes, keep a cool head and you most probably will get the best of the bargain.
- Develop a sense of clarity
Knowledge of the actual problem in full detail; its size, magnitude and possible consequences gives you a clear idea of what’s at stake and of what to expect if the problem is not correctly solved. It is looking at the problem objectively and not figuratively so you could proceed with analyzing possible solutions. Clarity brings calm and assurance giving you a head start on what to do, in what will most often turn out to be the right direction.
Instead of blowing things out of proportion or making an issue out of something pretty minute, be objective and remember to always go about your problems with poise and grace. Stress and tension are what makes problems look bad and end up producing wrong or negative results.
Anytime you discover something is wrong; like you have a problem and notice you are about to get anxious, be reminded that it’s just a simple problem and that every problem has a solution and all you need to do is find that solution. Worry never solves anything. Instead of worrying and being pessimistic, know that no problem is out to kill you. Brace up and gracefully go about finding a solution. For every problem, there is an appropriate and corresponding solution which when implemented will leave you better than you were when the problem met you; Action and Reaction, Cause and Effect
It is important, however, that you be true to yourself as to what the real problem is. I say this because most people gamble even with their problems, refusing to admit what the real problem is thinking they can point their fingers at just anything and experience peace. As long as you refuse to be true to yourself and really say, “This is the root cause of my troubles”, or, “This is the real reason why I am worried or upset or frustrated”, you never will make the right decisions, because for a decision or cause of action to be the best or the right one, it must be aimed at addressing the root cause of the problem rather than just prune the branches. Cutting off the branches or the trunk and leaving the roots (the real cause) will do you no good, because that tree will grow back sooner than you think.
Once you are quite sure what the real problem is, the next logical thing to do will be to think of ways to solve the problem. The simple habit of thinking – asking yourself (your mind) questions about how to go about a challenge or piece of work, is probably one of the greatest ways to handle any problem. But it seems, instead of creating time to think, most people would rather create time to panic. You are not the first to go through that crisis and you certainly won’t be the last. If others made it through, you equally can, but until you stop panicking and start thinking clearly, you just might stay stuck in something you call a rut, which truly is a self-made barrier, the kind which fear and panic creates.
Instead of worrying about what might go wrong and what the consequences will be, think of possible solutions to your current crisis. Remember that problems are common to us all and are often breeding grounds for positive change and new opportunities. Panic only closes doors to these possibilities.
Every problem has a solution as well as a positive or negative side to it and you get results strictly depending on which side you focus on.
Stop and think and you just might be amazed.
- Acquire Relevant information
Nothing simplifies decision making like information. I find that the reason why many still find it difficult to handle their problems is because they haven’t acquired relevant information about the problem and its possible solutions.
Once you have clearly identified the problem and thought of ways to solve it, the next step which is the first proactive step will be to acquire information about its possible solutions.
- Explore all possible and promising angles
Once thinking is done and relevant information has been obtained, explore all ideas you would have gotten and act on the best. Defining solutions clearly, taking the best solution and working on it till you get results is key. Remember all knowledge without action or implementation won’t do you any good. Also, know it may not always work out fine during the first run, just make sure you try again and if you find the route you took isn’t really the best, you can change it or your approach and try again.
In order to correctly handle a problem, you must
Refrain from being pessimistic
Refrain from panicking
Decide to approach the problem correctly
Define the problem clearly and be true to yourself
Think on possible solutions
Acquire relevant information based on findings
Explore most promising angles and act on them
To conclude, I would like for you to know that advice has never lost its power to turn things round. It is people’s failure to apply it that makes it seem impotent. Knowing all the secrets in the world won’t do you any good, unless you actually put them to work. Put these to practice and things will be different. Put them to work and they surely will work out for you.