Solve Your Biggest Problem

Problems are part of life – we all experience them. Some are bigger than others and press us for a solution. Your biggest problem right now is likely to be frustrating and stressful. This post is all about your natural ability to create a solution.

As an example, let’s use a typical problem from the work context – a difficult boss (although what follows applies to any problem). The first thing to notice is a crucial distinction. The behaviour that your boss shows is a fact while the problem you experience with that behaviour is individual to you. In other words, problems are not objective facts; they are subjective experiences.

Because all our experiences are created first by the thoughts we are thinking at the time, for a problem to exist means that you have to be thinking a certain way. You already know that when something ‘takes your mind off it’ the experience of your problem temporarily goes away. Only when you start to think about it again does the problem become real once more.

The solution cannot lie within the thinking that creates the experience of a problem; keep thinking problem thoughts and the problem just gets bigger! This is at the heart of the well-known quote from Albert Einstein:

No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it 

The solution can only come from new thinking – inspiration. So the question is: how do we get new thinking?

Well, this is where you can rely on your natural ability because new thoughts will always come when you stop crowding your mind with old thoughts. So if you want a solution to your problem, give your mind a break. This means a proper break, not simply moving on to think about another problem.

Start the break by framing a question such as: how can I best deal with the behaviour my boss is showing? And then leave it alone; go and do something completely different, preferably something you know does not need lots of thinking.

As your mind becomes less busy, new thoughts will begin to occur to you. Let them arrive without over-analysing them, as if you’re watching them pass by. You will recognise the solution thoughts by the good feelings that come with them – feelings often referred to as heart-warming or gut instinct.

Perhaps, as you have been reading this, you have remembered a previous occasion when you found a solution to a problem. At the time you may not have been aware that you were using the mechanism described here but you can be sure that all the ‘circuits’ are present. Your natural gift for creating a solution is just waiting to be activated!


Solve Your Biggest Problem — 2 Comments

  1. For many and I am including myself in this we can be guilty of cramming our minds full of things perhaps trying to avoid something coming to the fore. A bit like treading around in a clear brook it does not take long before you have stirred up much sediment and you cannot see the bottom any longer. More treading will just perpetuate the situation where as standing still will allow it to settle and clear. Many may be afraid that if they leave space what they do not want to think about may get bigger, the fact is a bit like an iceberg it is not getting bigger we are giving it the opportunity to show itself in its full size and then we can deal with it in the conscious mind rather than leaving it lurking in the subconscious. Today I think this seems to be labelled Mindfulness where we become aware of our thoughts and the affect they have on us. I love the quote of Einstein and perhaps goes some way to support the fact of a problem shared can be a problem halved.

    • Thanks Jon – I really like the analogy of the clear brook. For much of my life I believed that solving a problem meant thinking more and more about the problem. As you say that is what stirs up the ‘sediment’.

      As for icebergs, it is worth remembering that an iceberg is only a problem if you are on collision course with it! If you become so mesmorised by it, magnifying it through the binoculars, that you ignore other possibilities and steer straight for it, then disaster is the only outcome.