Fun With Problems

I have written many times over the years that the mark of a successful individual is not whether he or she has problems. It is whether he or she can solve the problems they have.

If the person has the same problem now as they had last year, he or she is poor at solving problems and not very successful.

A lot of people do not understand problems and cannot solve them (how can you, if you don’t know what a problem is?)

So the unsuccessful person just worries and frets and does nothing.

It’s not at all about having “no problems.” In fact the only sure way to have no problems is to be dead. Everybody has problems. Whenever we have a goal, there are barriers to achieving that goal. The goal blocked by a barrier is a problem.

Overcoming the barrier and attaining the goal is the game of life. Problems are the essence of life. They are fun. Without problems as challenges, life would be boring indeed!

One of the commonest problems people have is in not being able to do what they want; the other half of this bind is doing things you don’t want to do.

Shed some light with this very simple process. It’s deceptive; don’t underestimate it. Part of our inability to deal with things sometimes, is just not to see the simple truth. With this simple action, you can often reveal problems that are not being seen, or you are blind-sided by them, that is: you “see” them but you don’t see them.

Nothing deep here. Just engaging and often leads to some important insights.

It comes from my four-fold logic, described in New Thought Horizons. You’ll get to it some day…

Meantime, take a blank page and divide it into four, with 2 lines, one horizontal and one vertical. That way you have four “quadrants”. Now…

Ask yourself the following questions:

1. “What are you doing in your life that you want to do?” Write the answer in quadrant number 1, upper left.

2. “What are you not-doing in your life that you want to do?” In other words, what do you wish you were doing and are nevertheless not doing? Write the answer in quadrant number 2, top right.

3. “What are you doing in your life that you do-not want to?” Write your answer in quadrant number 3, bottom left.

4. “What are you not-doing in your life that you do-not want to do?” Write your answer in quadrant number 4, bottom right.

Above the line is the good stuff; the things that you want to do. Those below the line are things you are trying to eliminate from your life.

Question 4/quadrant 4 is not as simple as you think; it often identifies those things that a person really does not want to do and therefore is not creatively making a part of his or her life. Quadrant 4 may also represent an unidentified problem. For example, he does not want to work for somebody else, and in this way he or she limits their own choices—not good.

Ask yourself these four questions several times, one after the other, until you have run out of answers. Write each answer in the appropriate quadrant. If you overfill a quadrant, just write on a second sheet of paper.

Next, underline the answers that you have written down in quadrants 2 and 3. These are the key problem areas of your life. With this data you will be able to take action on the real underlying source of the problems.

Note: If lack of energy is a problem, realize that you can promote mental fitness by becoming physically fit, and exercise gives you more energy not less. Also, you can talk yourself into exhaustion; most people are about as tired as they make up their minds to be.

If you have practical problems, take action to resolve the problem, rather than worry and complain about things. If you need help in resolving a problem, the following procedure will assist you.

Write the following down, as you think of possible answers. You can alternate asking yourself one question and then the other, or list answers to each:

  1. Something which solving the problem definitely does-not-depend-on.
  2. Something that the problem definitely does-depend-on.

Asking these questions will make you aware of your hidden problem-solving resources. What is preventing you being, doing and having the things which will resolve the problem? What needs to be changed?

For example, if the problem is overeating, then you might think:

  • * It depends on eating less.
  • * It doesn’t depend on getting the car serviced.
  • * It depends on the richness of the food.
  • * It doesn’t depend on the color knitting wool I buy.
  • * It depends on the degree of self-control I have.
  • * It doesn’t depend on the weather.

But wait a minute! Might it depend on getting more exercise? And isn’t the car related to this? And the color of the knitting wool for a jersey to fit a new slim body – might this be a solution? Be creative! Let me tell you something surprising: none of your answers will be totally unrelated to solving your problem.

Repeat these questions for each problem that you have written down in quadrants 2 and 3. Have fun finding these resources you never knew you had!

[notes from Peter Shepherd]

2 thoughts on “Fun With Problems

  1. yes, you are correct. problem is that i see too many obstacles to overcome, so i take no steps to gain the prize and stay in limbo

  2. Will, your problem is not as uncommon or as hopeless as you think. Dr. Keith’s procedure is certainly brillantly rational. However, I know that sometimes there are blocks that keep us from even engaging in Dr. Keith’s method. I found help in George Pratt’s book “Code to Joy” and in the field of ‘energy psychology. Also Albert Bandura’s work with self efficacy may shed some light. Good luck and God Bless.

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