Your progress can be hindered if you ignore your problems. Could you be letting little challenges grow into huge obstacles by not dealing with them?
When faced with unpleasant situations it is tempting to ignore them and not deal with them. The path of least resistance is an attractive one and the effort required to deal with the problem sometimes seems too immense. At times it’s not so much that the problem is big but that it requires us to admit something about ourselves or others that we just don’t want to face. The trouble is “You won't find a solution by saying there is no problem.”
Dealing with problems – the dangers of not handling your problems
The longer you take to deal with your problems the bigger they will grow and the harder it will be to sort them out. They are like weeds that grow in a beautiful garden. If not recognized and uprooted early enough they will dominate the garden and choke the beautiful flowers in the garden. In fact you will forget there was ever a lovely garden there to begin with.
Secondly, when ignored, problems may become accepted as the norm. I remember working at a hospital where there are often shortages of medical supplies. As medical staff there we got so used to improvising that even when some supplies were in stock we did not think of using them. For instance, we improvised arm slings for shoulder dislocations and broken limbs by using bandages and empty fluid bags. One nurse actually had to remind me that the pharmacy had plenty of arm slings so I should not be wasting people’s money by telling them to buy bandages instead. My mind had become accustomed to the abnormal to such an extent that it became normal and I absolutely did not think there was any other way to get the job done.
There are many abnormal situations and circumstances in our lives that we have become used to and comfortable with to the extent that we do not see the need for change. It is possible for you to become used to poverty and lack. It is even possible to get used to mediocrity and failure. Ignore the problem long enough and it may no longer become a problem to you. The trouble is you will not be living the kind of life you should be living. “Making do” is not always a good thing.
Lastly, a problem that is not dealt with can lead to other problems. Unfortunately, problems are very social creatures and they will eagerly invite other problems into your life if you harbour them for too long. By not controlling one you may be opening the door to many others. It’s the domino effect: one action or lack of it in this case, can lead to many different consequences.
Dealing with problems – change your thinking
So how do you deal with problems? The first and best way is to change the way you think about problems. . “The way you see the problem is the problem.” I like to think of such things as “challenges” rather than problems because “Problem” is a dead-end word. It leaves no room for solutions. When you regard something as a challenge instead, it leaves your mind free to think about how to respond to it. If you see it as a temporary obstacle you are more likely to feel empowered and able to deal with it.
David Oyedepo and Chris Oyakhilome, who are both pastors, say that many people have asked them whether they ever have problems in their lives as they always seem to be having it easy and things are always working out for them. Their response is that they don’t remember having problems. They add that perhaps the problem came, but they did not recognize it. Their mindset is one of dealing with things as they come and knowing that they have the answer to anything that they face. As they are on God’s side, I’m sure they cannot fail to have answers.
Dealing with problems – focus on the desired outcome
A second way to deal with a problem is to focus on the solution instead. Focusing on the problem too much may actually make it more impossible to solve. This can make the problem so big in your mind that it obscures or overshadows any possible solution. Try instead to think about what life would be like if the problem were solved. This brings your creativity into play and your mind will soon find ways to solve the problem.
According to Albert Einstein “You can't solve a problem with the same kind of thinking that created it.” A third way to deal with problems, then, is to alter your viewpoint. One way of doing this is to distance yourself emotionally from the problem. Try looking at the problem as an impartial observer and not as someone actively involved in it. This technique will not only make the problem seem less daunting, but will also help you to find possible solutions. When you are emotionally involved in something it clouds your judgment and dulls your creativity.
Dealing with problems – have a sense of humour
Finally, “laugh at your problems; everybody else does.” It is important to realise that any problem, no matter how big it may seem at the time, has a solution and is usually not the end of our lives as we may often feel. As long as you are breathing no problem is beyond solving. There is always hope to those that will look for it. Take life in your stride. Do not get bogged down by it and don’t ever forget to enjoy it. A free and fun mindset alone will go a long way in helping you to deal with your problems.
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