Have you ever wondered what the best way to solve a problem is? Well, glad to tell you, you’re in the right place.
We all have problems; yes! Really, no one is exempted from the shackles of a problem they’re trying to solve.
It may be financial, spiritual, physical, emotional and so on. I’ve discovered a problem-solving strategy that works every single time. There’s no false hope here, it really does.
Apparently, it’s pretty much opposite to what you think – the way you and I were trained to approach and look at problems is directly opposite to what we’re supposed to be taught.
While most of us were growing up, some way or another, we were so taught to see problems as an enemy; to face it like it is—a problem.
Well, this is really where the problem in solving the problem lies—the notion about the problem.
Most of us were never taught that a problem should be seen as an opportunity to get something done; to learn the art of self-discipline; to be creative and innovative. That’s not what was imbibed into our minds. Instead, we were taught to see problems as an enemy. To oppose it in every way possible. To curse, yell and sulk at it, and above all, just get rid of it anyhow.
Sadly, this approach never works. The reason is that if you see something as an enemy, that’s what it’s going to appear to be – an enemy. However, if you see something as a friend, that’s the way it’s going to be – friendly.
You don’t want to approach life with such hostility and seek to get something out of it. It doesn’t work that way.
Let’s look at some practical case in point. If I had a problem, say, with getting an A in Math. A common approach from an average student will be to hate the subject, the teacher, the founding fathers of Math and everything associated with it. But, really, does that really make any sense.
You can tell such an approach will never work. If anything, it’ll only make things get worse.
The solution to this problem will be to improve your interest in the subject. Let it fascinate you so much that you’re engrosses in studying it more than any other subject. That way you’ll give it more time and focus, hence, making you become diligent.
Embracing the problem, approaching it with a mindset of openness, accepting it the way it is, seeing the good that could come out of it; all of these are ways to face a problem.
Some Other Case in points
There’s such paradox in the way things tend to go compared to how you approach problems: when you focus on the problem, trying to change it with stringent measures you fail. On the other hand, ignore the fact that it’s a problem—allow it to be, and embrace it as it is, only altering your thinking about and approach towards it, it goes in your desired direction.
Here are some paradoxical examples:
- In Portugal, they don’t arrest or harass drug dealers, yet their drug consumption rate is pretty low.
- In France, they advocate safe sex rather than abstinence, unlike other countries like the United States, yet, the rate of teenage pregnancy in the United States is more than twice that of France. It’s also more than six times Germany’s rate and more than seven times the Swiss’ rate.
- In Norway, the highest number of years for imprisonment is 23 years, yet the crime rate is pretty low In fact, only about 20 percent of prisoners are rearrested within 5 years, compared to USA’s 80 percent. They also have very beautiful setting for their prisoners to make them feel like they’re still in the outside world. They make them cook, make music, watch TV, take part in elections, and even give them their own apartment.
- In Finland, they don’t burden their students with homework at all, no standardized test, in fact, they have very short school time—20 hours a week; yet, they have the best students in the world.
You must have noticed the ‘bizarre’ ways these countries took to dealing with problems and the awesome results they got. That’s because they approached and handled the problems correctly.
Have you ever heard that a critic feeds on your anger? He feeds on your reactivity. Sure enough, you reactivity is like a fuel that gets him fired up the more, and he’s happy. That’s because you saw him as a problem and approached him wrongly. Conversely, have you ever noticed how stupid you make him look when you decide not to react? He’ll seldom disturb you when you do that.
In the Chinese language, there’s no word for crisis or problem, the closest word for problem or crisis–wēijī or wenti is denoted as ‘opportunity.’ Now, that’s a great way to look at it, and little wonder, they have the fastest growing economy in the whole world.
The Way of Depression
Do you want to be happy? How you handle problems will determine that. Do you want to be depressed? How you handle problems will determine that.
Renowned psychologist Albert Ellis, PhD, in his Book Feeling better, Getting Better, Staying better, advocates the use of thinking and philosophizing to change our feelings about problems and circumstances beyond our control so it won’t lead to further depression and frustration.
There’s something about problems – they’re inevitable. Those who’ve wisely observed this and learnt to approach, embrace and invent creative ways to solve them have become stupendously rich and happy, while others, with the same problem, have become poor and depressed. The difference is the mentality and approach toward problems.
Research has shown that when you say an uncompromising ‘yes’ to an event that you know is inevitable—thus accepting it—instead of trying to change it, you make yourself happier compared to when you seek an alternative.
To illustrate, there are thing that are simply not within your reach – you can’t control them. Those things aren’t what you want to fight, hate, and curse, you’ll only end up depressing yourself – remember, you can’t control them.
However, you can decide to work on the other side of things that you know is within your control – and that’s you. You might not be able to control what happens to you, but you can control you.
You can adjust yourself – your thinking and reaction to the present moment – to fit in well with the present circumstances in such a way that it favors you and derives your happiness – that’s how to approach a problem – you yield to the requirement of the present moment, don’t try to defy nature, nature wouldn’t deign for you, so you must condescend to its level.
Copy the Master
Whenever Jesus was faced with a problem, he never tried to change the problem per se, he change himself (his thinking and reaction to the problem) instead, he knew the problem was the way it is, and that it can’t alter itself, but he knew he could alter his thinking and reaction about the problem so as to produce his desired result.
Case in point, when he was faced with the problem of raising the dead, he decided not to mention or speak about death or refer to the dead person as being dead because he knew no one could awake a dead person.
Instead, he always referred to them as being ‘asleep’; why, because he knew that he naturally couldn’t awake a dead person, but if the person was asleep, anyone could awake them.
Note that just because he said the dead person was asleep doesn’t mean that they’d were really asleep; his focus wasn’t on the problem but on himself. He was wise enough to let the problem be as it is while he kept on working on his thinking, perception and behavior about the problem.
Thus, his approach to a problem such as raising a person from the dead made him do it effortlessly. His thinking wasn’t contaminated with negativity; neither did he let the problem intimidate him.
You can tell he applied this same principle in others aspects of problem he was faced with—from feeding 5000 people without a dollar, to walking on water; from turning water into wine, to getting lots of fishes from an already troubled water.
Here’s the key, if you’re faced with a problem, don’t focus on the problem, that’s not within your control. Instead focus on making yourself to align properly with the requirements of the present moment. Focus on your behavior and thinking, and make sure they’re positive.
What About God?
The paradox continues here, the Bible documents in John 3:16 how God chose to solve the problem of sin on the earth. Through his love, he sent Jesus – his only begotten Son. He poured love into something he hated – sin.
In another scripture in Romans 2:4, we read that God’s solution to getting a sinner to repent is his kindness and goodness towards that sinner. He poured kindness into the problem.
It’s important we learn to pour positivity into negativity. That’s how you solve a problem.
No one has ever cured a head ache with a hammer. You cannot afford to be negative towards something you plan to change. For, example, if you have problems with relating to people, don’t focus on them, focus on yourself. You can’t control how they act towards you, but, sure enough, you can control your perception and reaction toward them, work on yourself instead and see how much impact it makes in your relationship. You can decide to do embrace the moment as it is, work on what’s within your control – you, and get desired results.