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Problems, problems, problems. - by TimC

Problems. What are they and why do we have them. Where do they come from and what can we do about them.

Before we can discuss problems from an intelligent perspective let's first some basic criteria as to their nature.

First. Everyone has them

Second. No one wants them

Third.  They always come when we want them the least.

Fourth. They always come from the direction in life that needs our attention the most.

Fifth. You can't run and hide from them for very long.

Sixth.  Other people always seem to have fewer or easier problems.

Seventh.  Problems are neither positive or negative.  They are neutral.

Eighth.  It doesn't matter what you call them i.e. opportunities, situations or challenges or problems.

Ninth.  They are not a respecter of ignorance or arrogance.

Tenth.  Once you solve one, there is another one waiting around the next corner.

Have you ever noticed that a problem to one person, regardless of its nature or gravity, is often not perceived as a problem to another person.  Have you ever noticed that often the simplest routines and issues in life are traumatic problems for some people.  And have you ever noticed how some people are crushed by problems while other people get better, stronger and wiser because of their problems.

Let me give you a recent example out of my life.

I recently spent several days in a Chicago Hospital.  It was a visit that I was unaware that I would be making until the very day of my admittance.  Seven days confined to a hospital bed with a variety of tubes and hoses connected to me limiting my freedom and mobility.  There were constant interruptions and distractions.  I had hoped to get some writing done during this time period, but no such luck.  Since my philosophy of life is that everything that comes into my life is a teacher, I spent the first few days reflecting on what were the lessons in this emergency situation.

The next few days were spent in careful observation of a variety of healthcare providers and patients.  Since I do a great deal of work for clients in the healthcare field, this was a wonderful opportunity to experience first hand a great deal of situations that one day will become illustrations in a speech or seminar.  

The last few days were spent reading, writing and thinking.  I wrote a number of articles for this newsletter, several chapters in my new book on relationships and I read two great books.

Looking back the time, in spite of the interruptions, was very productive.  This hospital stay was an inconvenience.  But it was also a great opportunity to learn a great deal about life, myself and my world.  

Other people that I chatted with saw only the negatives not the lessons.

Let me give you one other great illustration that a fellow speaker shared with me several years ago.

He was driving on a turnpike and stopped to pay the toll when he noticed that the attendant seemed unhappy, sour and generally unpleasant.  When he asked him what was wrong, he didn't have allot of time for a lengthy dialogue, the attendant replied, "how would you like to spend eight hours a day in a vertical coffin?"  Several miles up the road he stopped for another toll and found a young man smiling, happy and with a generally pleasant disposition.  He asked him why he was so happy and his reply was, "mister  this is such a great job, I get to spend all day in a classroom listening to self improvement audio tapes."  What a contrast of attitudes about problems.

Well let's get to the discussion at hand.  

What are problems. Why don't you select which definition you like best.

One,   they are a wake-up call to change something in your life or business.

Two,   they are signs or signals from life that it is time to pay attention.

Three, they are opportunities to grow, leave old baggage behind and/or make better decisions in the future.

Four,   they are useless meaningless experiences or situations that have no value in life.

Five,    they are inadvertent roadblocks that test your courage or resolve.

Six,      they are opportunities to look at your life, relationships or career a little more creatively.

Seven,  they are life's way of establishing order and balance in life.

Eight,    they give us an opportunity to see life more clearly.

Nine,    they are an opportunity to determine where we the resistance is in our life.

Ten,      they are an indication of where we need adjustments in values, beliefs, attitudes, perceptions and interpretations.             

Which definitions did you relate to the most?  Whichever ones that you selected, will give you an indication of where your growth will come from in the weeks and months ahead. What problems are you currently experiencing as you read this article?  How are you responding to them? If you are experiencing  the same problems repeatedly in your life, what is the common denominator?

Generally speaking, problems are a signal that some change is required in how we are living our life.  But let me reiterate.  Problems are not positive or negative, they are neutral events.  Whether we choose to see them as positive or negative is up to each of us.  Some people see the rain others see the cleansing, some people see the end as an ending others see it as a new beginning.   Some see the closed door as final, others look for new doors to open.

Problems really don't care what your attitude is about them.  But if you ignore the lessons while the problems are small, hit the snooze button so to speak, life has a unique way of turning up the heat.

You can't ignore the lessons that life indefinitely. Life will teach you sooner or later you need to pay attention.  You can do so now while the consequences are small or later when the price is much higher.  

Where do problems come from?

They come from past errors in judgment, incorrect perceptions or interpretations, our inner conflicts, postponed growth, our higher self's desire to speed our journey towards peace and harmony.  They also come from our personality or emotional weaknesses such as arrogance, impatience, greed, anger, insecurity, resentment, blame, guilt and un-managed conflict.

Earlier I stated that everyone has problems.  How can I make such a dogmatic statement. I believe everyone has problems because the law of life is growth.  Growth always causes resistance to that growth giving us the attitude that we have problems.  Everyone is moving down the path of life. Some slowly some with lightning speed. Some willingly, some reluctantly. Some of us may have been given a head start financially or emotionally because of our early environment, but there are still other lessons to learn, other growth to experience regardless of how you started your journey or where you are on it.

Not everyone experiences the same growth or problems at the same stage in their life.  Some people get the opportunity to learn things as children, others as old men or women. Some people have financial problems while others have career, relationship, health, mental or any number of other personal challenges to confront.  No one escapes.  

I am not being negative but realistic.  We often don't get the luxury of choosing the particular set of problems that we will be faced with in life, but each of us can choose our reaction.  A great line from Kenny Rogers song The Gambler, "every hand is a winner and every hand is a loser, its not the cards you get but how you play the hand that matters."  

One of my favorite lines  from Napoleon Hills book, Think and Grow Rich is  " every adversity, every failure, every setback, every heartache and every problem carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit"  Notice he didn't say, it came with a greater benefit but the seed of a greater benefit.  Which means that in every negative experience there is the opportunity for growth, wisdom, improvement, change or awareness.

Well enough about the why, where and when.  Lets close this discussion with what can you do when they come.

Every problem brings with it the power of choice.  The opportunity to select from a multitude of options and a variety of actions. The actions, choices or alternatives that are most attractive or effective will vary with each individual and how they see themselves and their life or career unfolding. Each individual will look at each problem through their own personal set of financial, relationship and career filters. Remember life is a very perceptual experience.  Whether you are seeking personal growth or waiting for it to force its way into your life does not change how the lessons will appear and what you can do with them.  

All problems give us the opportunity to remain stuck in a way of life or perspective or grow through the problems.  But don't forget at the other side of every successful solution is another problem waiting in the wings.  So what is the answer.  Learn to manage your problems not eliminate them. Learn to grow through your problems not wish for fewer ones.  

Here is a ten step process to get the most from the problems in your life.
One.   Slow down, relax, pay attention.
Two.   Listen to your inner guidance system.  It is working for your highest good.
Three. Observe your mind in action and become a witness to your inner conflict and dialogue.
Four.  Take adequate time to reflect on all the possible lessons to be learned from the problem.
Five.   Honor your insight, intuition and experience.
Six.     Listen to others but be careful not to let their advice or council replace your own thinking.
Seven. Commit a description of the problem to writing.
Eight.   Brainstorm possible options and their consequences.
Nine.   Select all the options that fit your current lifestyle and willingness to follow-through.
Ten.    Apply the following fail-safe test to each of your choices:
           a.  How does this choice feel.
           b.  What is the worst that could happen.
           c.  What is the best that could happen.
           d.  Could you live with the worst.
           e.  Could you live with the best.
           f.   Given your history, would you follow-through regardless of known and unknown
                 obstacles.
           g.   Are you willing to move ahead.
           h.   Five years from today how will this choice affect the quality of your life.
           i.    Develop an action plan to carry out your choice
           j.   Begin
         

Well that's it folks.  Enough about problems for one day.

I hope I have left you with some insights to chew on as you go through your day and life.

As you experience challenges, situations, opportunities, problems or adversities today and in your future I hope you will remember one simple thought.

Release the expected and embrace the unexpected.







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