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Dealing with problems

Dealing with problems – introduction

You can be hindered from making progress 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 harbor 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 humor

Finally, “laugh at your problems; everybody else does.” It is important to realize 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.

Dealing with problems – the conclusion

Look ahead with confidence. Stay focused on what you want and not what’s in your way. “Don't be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.”

You are all you can be. Go on and be it.

The prison within - Overcoming fear

Overcoming fear – introduction

There is a prison that has an inmate population in the billions. It’s a prison without walls, without barbed wire, without guards, and without any physical barrier. But it is the most effective prison in the whole world. Few escape it, but those who do find real and lasting freedom.

That prison is in our minds. It is a prison that holds back our initiative, our talent, our ability to express ourselves and, most of all, it holds back the fulfillment of our full potential as human beings.

That prison is fear. Our lives today are controlled by fear more than we know. Fear controls the choices we make, our actions, our habits and even our destinies. Fear has become one of the greatest threats to humanity in this day in its many forms. Terrorism has become the pinnacle of fear worldwide. Recent events in the world have shown how fear can drive even those that are powerful to behave desperately and inhumanely. But the effect of fear on our personal lives is more damaging than any terrorist can ever hope to achieve. Fear of life prevents most of us from living.

Fear of life? Yes. “Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem to be more afraid of life than death.” This observation was made by James F. Bymes.

Overcoming fear – the many faces of fear

In its extremes, fear in our personal lives causes anxiety and phobias. For people with such illnesses, the prison of fear can seem like a death sentence. Their lives may be totally controlled by fear, making life totally unenjoyable and everyday tasks a real struggle. Fortunately, this is not the most common manifestation of fear. The far more destructive form of fear is one that we have come to accept because it is so common.

For example, I remember very clearly how when I was in my first year at university I met a lot of fellow students that were spreading fear everywhere they went. They would say how difficult the first year of natural science studies was and how badly people were failing the course. They had all the statistics of how many people failed last year and the year before that. They’d say things like “50 people failed that course last year.” What they didn’t tell you was that 400 people passed the same course last year.

All the seven years I was at university, were the same. Every year there were people speaking doom and failure. Often, it showed in the results they got. They were the same people struggling to pass. I, and many others like me, got through it fairly unscathed. We chose to see the 90 percent that passed and not the 10 percent that failed.

Overcoming fear – fear can stop you from progressing

There are those of you out there with brilliant business ideas. What holds you back is fear. You think about all the statistics of how many businesses fail every year, or what your friends and family will think of you if you quit your job to pursue your dreams. The fear of not being able to pay your bills, fear of getting fired, fear of starting over and the fear of not having a job title all hold you back. It is fear that keeps most of us in jobs we do not enjoy and, sometimes, that don’t even meet our financial needs.

The fear of taking risks is one that few people are able to overcome. Risk is the potential harm that may arise from some present process or from some future event. In every area of life risk-taking is a necessary thing. If you propose marriage to someone you have to take the risk that they may say no. If you are in a race you have to take the risk that you may lose miserably. If you want to live life to its fullest you have to take the risk of failure. As Dorothy Thompson said: “Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.”

Fear will paralyze you if you do not deal with it. It will absolutely stop you from living a life that you desire. Recognise it. Conquer it. Eleanor Roosevelt’s advice is that “you gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”

Overcoming fear – there’s nothing to fear but fear itself

I’m sure you have had an experience in the past when you really feared something. After doing it how did you feel. Silly? Stupid? The feeling is often one of “that wasn’t so hard after all. I don’t know what I was afraid of.” Trying to fight fear is like trying to fight the dark. You can’t do it. The way to get rid of darkness is to bring in the light. The way to get rid of your fears is to conquer them. “Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it... that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear” ( Dale Carnegie).

Overcoming fear – you can do it today

Go ahead and start that business you want to start. Go ahead and study what you really want to study. Go ahead and become a musician, poet, artist, fashion designer or whatever else you want to do. Sure you might fail, but you might succeed too. Take the risk today and conquer your fears. Do you want to look back years from now and think I could have, I might have, and I should have. That is a sad way to live your life.

Overcoming fear – the futility of playing it safe

Remember that no matter how “safe” you play it one fate awaits us all. That is death. Whether you take a risk or not you will die. So of what benefit is it to you to be under the yoke of fear and live a life that is way below your potential? Use your life wisely. Free your mind from fear and worry and go for it.

Overcoming fear – the conclusion

There is the only thing you should fear and that is God. That should not be a fear of terror but of reverence. “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death.

You are all you can be. Go on and be it.

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