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Di Riddell - Your Voice Matters

Di Riddell

Your Voice Matters - Confidence Beyond 50

7 Lessons I Learned About Solving Problems

Problems and challenges are like a bus there will always be another one usually when you least expect it. Confidence, quiet, calm and powerful helps with that.

Life does not work by solving one problem than giving you a lifetime certificate for your wall saying ‘problem solved all will be good now!’.  

Sharing my 7 lessons may be just the roadmap that will help you or someone you know look at their problems from another angle and encourage positive action steps.  

problems and challenges come every day just like a bus

No 1 – The best way to escape a problem is to solve it.

Recognise obstacles. for what they are – temporary tests of your resolve, ability and actions but know that recognition won’t do you much good if you don’t know how to handle it. Problems will always be around so, treat them as a normal part of life rather than considering them as ‘special’ or a reason to be a drama queen. If you are working expect problems, if you are with family expect problems, if you are minding your own business expect problems.

Then if everything goes according to plan celebrate and be pleasantly surprised. If it doesn’t you have planned in some form so you have a place to start and you won’t be so frustrated or overwhelmed.

A problem not anticipated is a problem. A problem anticipated is an opportunity.

No 2 Identify the real problem.

A problem is something you can do something about. If you can’t do something about it then it is a predicament. That means it is something that must be coped with or endured.

When you treat a predicament as a problem you become frustrated depressed and angry. You waste an enormous amount of energy and make poor decisions that don’t serve you. Then when all your attempts fail you give up and see yourself as a victim.

Or in a sneaky manner you come in on the attack using a minor irritation to mask what is really going on.

No 3 Face the real problem

How easy it is to hide and pretend…Like the elephant in the room – where there is a problem we don’t want to address, so we pretend everything is fine.

There are four ways that we typically respond to problems.  1) Flee from it – you try to escape but the problem follows you until you deal with it.  2) Forget it and hope it will go away, only it doesn’t. Left alone your problems tend to get worse. 3) Fight it – what you resist persists and problems are no exception. Fighting uses up so much energy you are left feeling depleted. 4) Face it – look at your problem realistically, and deal with it one step at a time.

No 4 Evaluate the problem carefully

There is a time in the life of every problem when it is big enough to see, yet small enough to solve. The key is for you to find the right time and be patient as you decide and act. Inexperienced people expect solutions immediately. Experienced people know if you create a plan, take one step at a time and keep going you will eventually succeed

No 5 Don’t just see the problem see the opportunity

Have you noticed that through your life adversity has paved a way to success or at least to something better?

Problems are wake up calls for creativity. You can choose to wake up, get up and rally the resources you have around you. I have found in my life that without having certain problems and overcoming them I would have been in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people. In my youth, I ignored that and huge problems arose that affected me for decades. You now know that there is another way.

Out of pain comes purpose, out of devastation comes direction. Our human bodies and minds have an amazing capacity to recover and step forward,

No 6 Keep your problems in perspective

In the peanuts cartoon Snoopy looks in and sees the family sitting round the table having roast turkey while he is outside eating dog food. ‘How about that’, he thinks, everyone is eating turkey today but because I am a dog, I get dog food. Then suddenly he regains his perspective. Of course, things could be worse… I could be the turkey!  

Most problems are pretty insignificant in the larger scheme of things. Realising there are people around you who have bigger problems than you bring you gratitude and perspective. If you have problems or challenges, go out and help someone else in need, you will feel amazing and it will put your problems in perspective.

No 7 Try to see the problem from a different angle

There was a time when I was having a problem with a tablet. I moaned on and on to my IT son. His reply was ‘Mum if you were going to dig a trench would you use a teaspoon?’ What I wanted was beyond the capabilities of that tablet. I wanted it to do what a laptop or desktop could do. That simple phrase apart from bursting out laughing was looking at the problem from a realistic angle.

Fire up your creativity, your sustained thinking and ideas and ask yourself: ‘Who else has solved this problem?’ How did they do it?’ Often the problems around you are not as crucial as the people around you.

There is more than one way to solve a problem.

How are you feeling now? Has it given you hints on looking at problems differently?  I urge you to take the time today to reflect on how you currently handle problems, is that serving you and how you might do that more effectively in the future.

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