This is Episode 46 of 101 things I wish my dear old day, RIP, taught me. “You are never given a problem you cannot solve.” Bought to you by the universal law of evolution, Number 2 of 5 laws.
in your life you have to trust something. As a child you don’t think of this but your parents solve every problem for you. If you break your leg they take you to hospital and fix you. There is in an innate trust that your parents will fix the problem and in their absence, the school teacher or scoutmaster or whoever is looking after you will solve it. But some parents don’t trust them cells to solve the children’s problems and so they tried to protect their children or prevent the children getting into trouble. It’s not the child’s fault that the parent feels in adequate it’s the parent believing they can’t solve all the problems of the world and therefore trying to prevent having to.
there was a little boy who went to the chicken coop and found a nest of eggs and observed one of the eggs cracking. Obviously there was a chicken inside and he decided to watch as it wrestled with the shell to come out. It took a long time for that little chick to peck its way through that shell and so the boy decided to be very kind and help that chick. He got a small pin and helped lift the shell away so that the chick could come out. Of course not long after the chick died. The process of wrestling with our problems is the process of learning the strength to live. We evolve through ever more complex problems and as we do we become more wise and more powerful people. But sometimes, either due to insecure parents, or, our own failure to solve a problem at some stage we develop fear. And with that fear we need somebody standing by us to help us solve our problems. Somewhere, we can inherit or create the belief that we cannot solve all the problems that life delivers.
In a healthy person this belief that we cannot solve our problems does not exist. In a healthy person we are brave, self determent, and courageous enough to stand up and say my problems are my problems. It’s also brave for the same person to stand up and say your problems are not my problems. When we are in some form of a relationship, we quite often perceive that it is our duty to take on the problems of other people. Know this may be true for our children when they are under the age of eight, but it starts to become a little vicarious when we are still taking on their problems when they are a teenager. The only reason we take on other people’s problems is because we don’t believe that an individual can solve their own problems. Including ourselves.
there is a big difference between emotional and mental support and problem-solving. One of the big challenges I have as a coach is that on the one hand my job is to help people solve problems but I don’t want to solve the problem for them because this, like the little boy with the chick in the egg, can make people feel as if they can’t solve their own problems. My job becomes to introduce different information that may help somebody solve their own problems. But there is often and enabler at home or at work or in the family that wants to solve problems by taking on the problem themselves. People think that love is to take on other people’s problems. And we have to accept that this is, for many the only way they know how to love. They try to take on everybody’s problems and fix it. In a relationship when a partner takes on their partners problems as a way of expressing their love, they are actually doing all they can, accidentally, to blow up the relationship.
so the belief that we can solve our own problems both goes to our own behaviour toward ourselves, and our behaviour towards others, therefore the question, or the statement, that we are never given a problem we cannot solve, goes to the very core of parenting, partnering and friendships. So let’s begin with the concept of rescue.
rescue breeds resentment. Why would that quote, I will used “in the universal laws, be true? Rescue breeds resentment. It is almost unfathomable that we could be resented for helping somebody out of a problem. When our partner is not happy and we reach out to solve their problem to make them happy, it would appear on the surface that we are doing the loving act, and they might offer us gratitude for the help. So how could this turn to resentment?
what does it say when we jump in and solve peoples problems or make their problems our own problems? It says basically we think they cannot fix their problems. It says basically we don’t trust that they are strong enough to sort things out. It says that we don’t have a life ourselves and therefore we want to make their problems our problem so we get a life. It says that we don’t think this person we are solving problems for is clever or strong or smart or whatever. Buried in what looks like the kindness of solving problems for somebody, is a sequence of deprecating beliefs about that person. But it is so hard not to fix things for people who are telling you that they have a problem and you know how to solve it.
to resolve this there are a couple of things to be aware of. Firstly, in the search for a solution there is validation that the problem really needs to be solved. For example a person might say to you G I am overweight and I need to lose this weight what do you think. You go into problem-solving mode because you care and say to them that this diet or that diet would be great. The assumption is that they have diagnose the problem well. But 99.99% of the time they have not. So very often the way to help people solve the problem is to question the problem. For example it is not uncommon to say to somebody who says I am overweight, how does that make you feel? This is a way of researching whether they really do have their finger on the pulse of the problem at hand. I think that is a great help to people.
in coaching it is believed that if you find the right question the answer solves it self. This is a really important awareness for those of us who are paid professionals at problem-solving. Self diagnosis is rarely accurate. And so when a person is out in search of a solution to a problem is very often a wrongly diagnosed search. A great example of this is people at work who are complaining that things aren’t going the way they want at the office. It is easy to start problem-solving right from the get go based on their interpretation of their discomfort. But their sensitivity to the topic at work might be driven by a health problem or something more sinister such as a relationship problem. So before you dive in and start cracking the shells of chick eggs, remember to step back and make sure that you help people rather than solve problems to find out what the real problem that needs to be solved really is. It is rarely what they are complaining about.
With all that said are we ever given a problem we can’t solve? You will have to believe or learn to believe, if you are at all interested in inspiration in your life, the answer that question is absolutely not. You may however be confused as to what is the problem. But once you know the question you are asking you will solve that question. So the point might be in problem-solving and knowing that you can solve any single problem that is ever given to you in your life is knowing what and how to research the real diagnosis of the problem. And that is where a mentor and a coach comes in because they are at arm’s-length from what’s going on they have an opportunity to look at things with a different viewpoint and find out what might be at cause rather than the effect of the problem you might be facing. Their job is not solving the problem but helping you diagnose what the problem is.
I had a sore back. I googled it. I couldn’t get out of bed. I diagnosed the problem has been sprains and strains, maybe even a compressed disc or a slipped disc. I went to a yoga teacher and got a stretching practice, I went to a physio and got all different sorts of machinery and devices to help me. I went to massage. I went to a guy who hit my back with a hammer. I went to acupuncture. I went to my doctor and I got pills to relieve the inflammation and pain. I curtailed my kayaking. Even the way I had sex changed in order not to aggravate my spine. With all this help nothing helped. The reason? Wrong diagnosis. Eventually I ended up at a sports medical clinic who got me to do an MRI. I had a tumour in my spine. Nothing I done over the period of three years had any benefit. Everybody participated in the event. People tried to fix my problem. And boy oh boy was I pissed off at the end of it when I realised the thousands of dollars in the hundreds of hours I had wasted in pain. Diagnosis and finding the right cause is essential for us to be able to solve our own problems.
when it comes to things like interpersonal relationships we are the worst at solving problems because we always gravitate to low hanging fruit to resolve difficulty. We might say that person is being obnoxious. We might say I’m not in the mood. And with all these low hanging fruit easy to detect problems there are easy solutions but the solutions are not accurate because the diagnosis is completely wrong. Interpersonal relationships are the most complex things we deal with in life. The more intense they are the more complicated they become because they dive into history and all sorts of complexity surrounding our beliefs. And this is why, in my coaching, I advocate the 30 day challenge as a starting point for exploring the future. In that 30 day challenge we flush out a lot of the debris that might be being caught somewhere between what we feel, what we think, how we react, and most importantly, how we interact. Getting to know ourselves is just a small part of it. Being able to solve any problem at the root of the problem, is that the heart of the 30 day challenge.
yes, the answer is definitely yes, we are never given a problem we cannot solve. Absolutely definitely yes. However sometimes we are given a problem that we cannot find the cause off and wrong Lee diagnose the problem. If we Ronlee diagnose the cause of the problem the solution we come up with will not be functional. It is very very important to realise this. To diagnose the problem is everything. To understand cause versus effect, absolutely puts us in the drivers seat of life and problem-solving. So we can say, with correct diagnosis of the problem we can always solve it.
that’s it for today, please share this information with those you think would enjoy it or benefit from it.