The strategies and techniques I’m about to share with you worked really well for me, at a time when I was broke, lonely, homeless, and… very depressed.
This sad state of affairs occurred between December 2003 – when I lost my job, broke up with my long-term girlfriend, found myself $12,000 in debt, out on the street because I was unable to pay rent… – and April 2004, when I finally could afford a (very modest) place to stay, and started getting my life back in order.
During that time, I had the good fortune of coming across a half-hour audio program by Anthony Robbins, America’s leading ‘success coach’ (I strongly recommend you attending his seminars – check out www.AnthonyRobbins.com), called “How To Solve Problems Quickly & Effectively”.
By applying this personal development material that I am about to share with you, I managed to take my ‘problems’ – that I consequently termed ‘challenges’ – and turned them into an opportunity.
The 11 Steps To Handling Any Problem Quickly & Effectively
1. Change the meaning you associate to ‘problems’.
First and foremost, you need to change your whole attitude towards ‘problems’!
Change what meaning you attach to them, turn them into an opportunity to expand, grow, and to discover a lesson that’s begging to be learned!
DON’T get all upset and start ranting and raving… “How come this £*&%$ ALWAYS happens to me!?” When you are angry, chances are, you are not operating at the peak of your resourcefulness…
When you are upset, what you’re actually doing is focusing on the PROBLEM… instead of working on the SOLUTION.
ALWAYS SPEND 80% OF YOUR TIME ON THE SOLUTION, AND ONLY 20% OF YOUR TIME ON THE CHALLENGE!
2. Know what you want – Know your outcome
Clarity is POWER.
What do you REALLY want to happen now?
Write down clearly how you want things to turn out. For example, you could say,“By the 4th of October I have solved all my financial worries and have become a master of money, earning over $20,000 a month. I am laughing at the thought of how worried I was over things that never actually happened. I am buying my dream home and moving in with the woman of my dreams.”
Your brain is constantly screening out and deleting 99.9% of everything you perceive. Your Reticular Activating System (RAS) will bring to your attention that 0.01% that your brain feels is important.
The way you can get your RAS to work for you in an empowering way… is by setting GOALS.
When you write down a goal, you are in fact sending a clear order to your brain that
THIS IS WHAT I WANT – NOW GET IT FOR ME!
3. Change the questions you ask yourself about ‘problems’
When you ask yourself questions like…
-‘Why does this always happen to me?!!’
-‘How come I can’t turn this around??!!’
-‘Why did this person do this to me??!!!’
… Well, you feel like you are no longer in control, and this just drives you crazy – you are NOT in a state to utilize all your mental resources rationally and with clarity.
Instead, you could ask yourself…
-‘How can I turn this situation around quickly and effectively and have fun in the process?’
-‘What’s actually funny about this?’
-‘How can I learn from this situation? What is the lesson for me here?’
-‘What’s the potential opportunity for me here?’
-‘Will this even matter 10 years from now?’
The questions we ask ourselves determine the way we feel and the quality of solutions we come up with.
Your brain is an incredibly powerful, effective, and imaginative supercomputer that will come up with a myriad solutions TO ANY PROBLEM… if you simply ask it an effective question.
If You Haven’t Solved A Problem Yet You Simply Haven’t Asked The Right Question Yet!
4. Change the language you use when it comes to ‘problems’
Firstly, STOP using the word ‘problem’.
If your house is on fire, you’re stuck on a desert island, or your doctor has told you “The good news, is we’re going to be naming this disease after you!”… THEN you’ve got a problem.
Everything else is just an ‘inconvenience’ or a ‘character-building challenge’!
The language you use affects the EMOTIONS you experience.
Imagine driving through the desert with a rental car, 2 other people in the back, and suddenly your car breaks down.
You’re stuck, miles away from anything resembling civilization. It’s the car rental’s fault.
One says, “I’m $%&* enraged!!!”
The other says, “I’m really angry!”
And you say, “I’m annoyed. I’m peeved off.”
YOU will experience the same aggravation, but you won’t incapacitate yourself and your reasoning by putting yourself in an un-resourceful state of anger and fear.
‘Problems’ are a drag… but ‘challenges’ are an ‘opportunity’! It’s ‘exciting’!
See how that works?
Remember: every convenience we benefit from today comes from people taking ‘problems’ (say, in the 18th century, ‘We can’t trade with far-away countries because of limited means of transportation…’), seeing them as a challenge, solving it, and thus creating an opportunity for themselves and massive value for everyone else. Trains, steamboats, planes, container ships…
5. Change the way you are using your Body / Physiology
The quickest way to change the way you feel is by changing your PHYSIOLOGY.
By ‘physiology’ I mean the way you breathe, whether you’re standing tall or not (how you hold your body, how you’re moving, and even your tone of voice).
In order to solve problems… sorry, ‘challenges’… quickly and effectively, you need to put yourself in a resourceful mental state, and nothing does that FASTER than by CHANGING YOUR PHYSIOLOGY.
When we feel tired, worn out, exhausted, problems often seem more of a hurdle.What you need to do immediately is get up and START MOVING! GO FOR A RUN! GO TO THE GYM! GO FOR A WALK IN THE PARK! BREATHE DEEPLY! SHOUT ‘YES! WHILST CLAPPING YOUR HANDS WITH CONFIDENCE!’
Get that oxygen flowing through your body! Feel that surge of energy pulse through you!
6. Radical self-honesty regarding the ‘problem’
The first step to solving a problem… is admitting you have one!
Be completely honest with yourself. Don’t pretend like the problem is not there.
I told you before… this is NOT about positive thinking (although it certainly helps as well to have positive expectations about how things are going to turn out).
If there’s a ‘problem’…. JUST FACE IT STRAIGHT ON! GET IT HANDLED! AND MOVE ON.
Be honest, see it as it is – but don’t blow it out of proportion either, and feel overwhelmed. Then visualize your desired outcome, and TAKE ACTION to make it thus. Create an ACTION PLAN (a list of actions you need to take to resolve this – then start with the first one).
7. Take responsibility
A central tenet of all personal development philosophies – and I have studied most of them – is that in order to have a wonderful life one must take complete responsibility for it and everything that happens therein.
You see, all that exists in your life, good or bad, is there because of YOUR attitudes, beliefs, thoughts, choices, and actions.
You and you alone have ‘manifested’ these situations. You have attracted these situations and people into your life, through your way of ‘being’ and your thoughts.
I know this is a really tough thing to accept, but it is fact.
The flip side to this, and really inspiring thought, is that since YOU manifested it into your life, you can equally manifest it away or manifest all the positive things you’ve ever wanted.
Until you have taken responsibility for the problem – no matter WHAT other people have done ‘to’ you – you will not be able to move on until you accept that you and you alone are responsible.
After all, who chose to go with or accept that business partner, wife, venture, investment, friend, holiday location, having kids, etc?
If you feel like, “I’M not the source of the problem, so how come I’VE got to solve it??”…
…then that will just make you angry and keep you from dealing with the situation at hand (“It’s not MY responsibility!”)
Remember, problems don’t go away until we take responsibility for them.
8. Control your mind’s focus
Your brain is NOT designed to make you ‘happy’.
It is actually a machine designed to ensure your SURVIVAL.
That is why your brain will do whatever it can TO MAKE SURE YOU IDENTIFY AND SEE PROBLEMS, POTENTIAL PROBLEMS, POTENTIAL WORRIES, INSIGNIFICANT EVENTS, etc.
In fact it will blow the most minor considerations completely out of proportion TO MAKE SURE that it has brought it to your attention… in order for you to SURVIVE.
I always advise people to live more in their hearts, where their PASSION and PURPOSE lie, instead of in that FEAR-BASED MECHANISM that is our brain.
The first way to control what your mind focuses on is this:SPEND 80% OF YOUR TIME ON THE SOLUTION! Focus all your energy, your thoughts, and your time on the solution!
Secondly, make sure you ask yourself quality, empowering questions.
“How can I turn this situation around quickly and enjoy the process?”
People who seem overwhelmed by their problem are in a lousy physiology (drooped shoulders, little movement, etc.), they have a terrible attitude about it and are asking themselves disempowering questions(“How come this always happens to ME?” ), they are not being honest with themselves and they are angry with everyone else (not taking responsibility for their situation), and are spending most of their time complaining about or focusing on the problem!
9. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
In February 2004, I was really at the end of my rope. I hadn’t earned any income in 3 months, couldn’t find a job, and had been kicked out of my place. I moved to London, where I would sleep a couple of nights on some friend’s place floor, another 2-3 nights at another friend’s, etc.
I was so overwhelmed by my debts that they were all I could focus on. I had completely lost my appetite, and had lost over 15 pounds (I wasn’t that big to start off with…)
That was it. I needed help.
I took the un-imaginable step of ASKING for help.I side-stepped my pride – (“Pride never helps. It only hurts.”– Pulp Fiction… what a cool movie) – and sent an email out to my 300 contacts in England, explaining my situation.
Within a week I had a fantastic job offer, from a person I now am privileged to call a mentor and a friend.
Who can YOU talk to?
Who can you ask for help from?
Who do you know has gone through a similar situation?
Have you got an extended database of contacts you could email, write to, or call?
You see, there aren’t THAT many challenges a human being can face. In fact, they are all very, very common.
A health challenge, a money challenge, a job or study challenge, depression, heartbreak, bereavement…There’s ALWAYS someone out there who’s been through the same things.
You are never alone when in a tough situation.
10. Brainstorm 100 solutions
Now this is my favorite step in the process, for I am the ‘creative’ type.
Take a white sheet of paper, or write in your journal, 100 different things you could do to solve your challenge.
From the sublime to the ridiculous, write down whatever comes into your mind.
Don’t stop to analyze it.
In fact, don’t let your pen stop for 20 minutes.
Be in total creativity overdrive!Go after this challenge like it’s a prey and you are the hunter!
When you adopt that behavior, YOU are in control–not the problem.
In fact, get a group of people together and brainstorm 100 solutions together!
Come up with 100 ways to completely eradicate this challenge.
Once you’ve taught your brain the pleasure of creative problem-solving, you never go back! Your brain will forever be open to coming up with solutions.
11. Take massive, intelligent action
Ok, now’s the time. You’ve got to JUST DO IT.
You know what you’ve got to do. You’ve ALWAYS known it.
Write out your action plan, put yourself in a peak physiology, and just take that first step. Complete that first item on the list. Then the next. And the next. Until it’s done.
If you feel you need to boost you Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem levels, I recommend that you visit www.Total-Self-Confidence.com where you can purchase my ebook on the subject.
I’m feel privileged to inspire you with my words. I wish you well on your journey.