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Solve Your Problems by Exercising Choice

by Mike Lally on January 23, 2014

Even though we like to think we are independently minded thinkers, open to new ideas and experiences, the reality suggests something a little different. Perhaps it isn’t particularly pleasant being branded as predictable, and generally intolerant towards change, but it does appear that this is the case for most of us. How does this tendency manifest itself in our lives? One way is the manner in which we consider and deal with problems.

Actually, I think it is useful to avoid using the word “problem” because it sets up and conditions the way we think. The word “problem” acts as a metaphor and leads to negative thinking, feeling and behaviour. Far better to see something as a “challenge” or at worst a “difficulty” since this provides the opportunity to look at an issue from a more positive perspective. Taken a little further, you are at liberty to pries open the doors and create a way of thinking that acts as a catalyst for change, your own magic pill.

It is always sensible to see problems from a new perspective. This in turn opens up a channel to new mental patterns of possibility. If we focus on “problem” we may overlook potential solutions by imposing boundaries around the problem that inhibits the potential of finding a better solution. All that’s left is limited thinking. Think back to the joys of school sitting in the mathematics class and wistfully attempting to make sense of a tricky problem.

I’m sure you were exposed to this kind of experience for long enough. Four divided by two equals two, and don’t even begin to think about any remainder. So, having been regimentally taught that a problem has just one and only one solution, it has caused people to adopt this as a rule, a way of thinking, something that is irrefutable. Trained in this way, we become inflexible thinkers, and apply this belief more broadly to all areas of our lives.

It would be preferable to have a philosophy based on a premise that every problem has at least one or more solutions. To create another possibility it is a simple case of making new neurological connections by thinking outside the box. Many of us fall victim of trying to solve a problem in the same way over and over again, irrespective of the issues involved.
We use the same thinking, same emotion, same behaviour, and mostly get the same result. And you know what? It’s a trap, a complete waste of your rich-set of resources.

Each and every problem has a language of its own, a metaphor that concisely defines it. So, why not consider creating a new metaphor for each difficulty rather than being fixated on a single way of thinking for everything? Try this: consider a challenge you have, and stop for a moment to write it down. Begin to interrogate yourself – in a nice way, of course.

Why is it such a problem? What is unique about this problem? What exactly is the degree of difficulty involved? What is its dimension? Am I thinking predictably about it? Brainstorm the process and see if you can come up with at least three alternatives to the one you would normally take. As you do this, notice the language you use when you describe the problem. Are you limiting yourself by your choice of words?

Perhaps it’s time to stop acting on and accepting there is just a sole solution to a problem and instead allow yourself the freedom to consider several solutions. In particular, begin to pay close attention to the language you internally use. Go ahead and determine whether it is worth creating a new pattern based on flexibility and choice as a means of assessing a problem.

Opening yourself up to more possibilities clearly produces more choice. This allows you to see new ways of solving problems. You will have an opportunity to create a different form of language for each problem. If you do this you will no longer be a prisoner to the limiting beliefs about difficult situations that occur frequently in life. In effect, this means you will have a different metaphor for each unique difficulty. Now you have the opportunity to consider the most appropriate solution for a given problem. You will be far more creative.

Looking at problems in a different way is cathartic; it is uplifting and a personal breakthrough. Let’s face it, the only behavior you can change is your own. The way you behave boils down to the way you think. The way you feel is reflected in your physiology. However, these two aspects of behaviour are the result of the way you think. So, changing your habitual thinking patterns is guaranteed to make an enormous difference to your feelings, behaviour and results. Do this and it will immediately alter your perception of each difficulty. Life will never be the same!

Here’s a suggestion: Begin to think in a completely different way about a problem or difficulty. Make yourself create new patterns of thinking when you are faced with a problem. Go ahead and devise a minimum of three solutions to a given problem. Do this by using your creativity, making new mental connections, and new combinations of patterns of thinking. This will break the old habit and create a new pattern over time. If this is practiced with a degree of diligence the old pattern will be interrupted and a new pattern formed.

All that is required is to see a problem in a completely different away by accessing your creativity. All problems can be reconstituted and restructured to produce a new way of thinking to give you more choice. So, why not be prepared to use your creative juices and derive a better way of dealing with problems? You will no longer feel constrained. Why not go ahead, be bold, and bring a new perspective to your problems?


Get Going Towards Happiness With This Jump Start

by Mike Lally on January 23, 2014

What can stop a person from finding and enjoying continual happiness in life? If you’re somewhat similar to many others it may well be that you are constrained by a limiting belief about what is possible for you. People are effective at building barriers around their thinking and this can act as a deterrent to the acceptance of themselves as worthy and deserving of consistent success in life.

If the desire to be happy or fulfilled was a simple case of consciously accepting it is your right I guess most of us would go ahead and make it happen. If conscious acceptance is the remedy why can’t we put this in place? Sadly, willingness and will-power fail to do the trick.
So, what’s the answer? In my view, by thinking differently and mentally entering into the world of possibility. In short, giving yourself permission to succeed. However, this can only be done through the unconscious part of your mind. Once conscious thinking gets in the way, in the blink of an eye we become saturated by our ongoing problems. Thus, there is a need to think, derive, and then mapping across a belief system that is rock-solid, and completely accepted by your unconscious mind. A touch of enthusiasm adds to this.

If you have limiting beliefs at the unconscious level, it will be difficult to move through your life in a state of happiness and possibility because your unconscious mind will manufacture obstacles to prevent you from finding the elusive obvious. Why does this happen? Well, at some level people refuse to believe that they have a right to get what they want and this includes being happy.
Even when people are aware something isn’t quite right they seem unable to understand what their intentions truly are. Contrarily, many people are perfectly aware of their intentions, but cannot find the will to overcome the barriers and obstacles that trip them up. A clearer understanding of the relationship between the conscious mind and unconscious mind can assist to break this down.

The problem is predicated around the belief many people have that they are already doing virtually everything they can to achieve a goal. Unfortunately, this is restricted to conscious thinking only, and is precisely where the difficulty lies. Why is this? Every goal you have is created consciously but achieved unconsciously. There will be some part of a person’s unconscious that fails to accept that they can and should achieve their aim – it is not deserved at some level.

Herein lies the problem: the aspect of any belief the unconscious does not accept is consciously avoided. Simply put, we suppress thoughts that trouble us. We don’t want to think about them and the more we do this the stronger the unconscious belief that it is something we do not deserve becomes. In fact, the more studiously we avoid the unconscious part, the more problems are likely to appear in our daily lives. Sadly, this is the way the mind seems to work.
The central premise behind a belief’s validity is rarely tackled. So, the core of the belief is never questioned.

It’s frankly amazing how quickly we have assembled a number of limiting beliefs and steadfastly refuse to question them. Often we can be unaware they even exist given some of these beliefs are buried deep within the unconscious. Where do these beliefs come from? Mainly from our upbringing. Beliefs are developed when we are least able to question their validity. They often stay with us for the rest of our lives. Having the courage to make an inventory of the beliefs that limit us and then making a determination to drop those that do not support positive change is something that consciously fails to register purposely enough. It’s not that they are intentionally avoided; they are just not rigorously considered.

Beliefs such as “I’m not good enough” or “I can’t find the right partner” or “I’m not clever” and so on are examples of cause and effect beliefs. This type of belief is incredibly common. Funnily enough, at some level there is the knowledge, however fleeting, that these beliefs are mere states of mind, but we do not persevere and question the essence of what they mean and why they are held on to.
Beliefs are notoriously groundless, questionable and antiquated, but they condition our lives. So, why not decide to tackle them? Most people tend to look for answers outside of themselves and ignore the truth that the solution generally lies within. If a belief has its origin in the past, why not allow yourself to evolve the belief forward to the “you of today” and decide whether it has any place in your present day life?

Once we begin to get at cause and understand that all of the effects of these beliefs in our lives are the result of prematurely and faulty thinking created a lifetime ago, we can address them unequivocally. Perhaps the starting point is to consider the limiting beliefs you have and make a list. Bear in mind many beliefs operate in a particular context and may not register consciously every day. Once this exercise is undertaken, ask yourself a simple question: “does this belief still hold true for me today?” then you can move on to asking yourself “what is possible for me?” You will soon create a new way of thinking and free yourself of a number of the self-imposed, mental straitjacket that is hampering your chances of finding and enjoying a more consistent state of happiness. This will result in a personal breakthrough. I will put forward a way of doing this next time.


Is Fear Holding You Back? Why Not Take One Step at a Time!

January 21, 2014

All journeys have the same simple purpose – to get from one place to another place. Occasionally we just seem to arrive at the destination without giving it a second thought. Sometimes the place where we would like to be seems impossible to reach – our internal map cannot determine how to get there. In […]

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Understanding and Mitigating the Risk Factors of Depression

January 21, 2014

The scope and variety of risk factors associated with a depressive disorder are so extensive it is almost pointless attempting to identify how likely any one person may be predisposed to the illness. This all-encompassing characteristic of depression serves as a warning that none of us are immune. The risk factors not only touch upon […]

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On Automatic Pilot? In What Direction Are You Heading?

February 5, 2013

Got any bad habits? We all know that habits are simply what we do when we don’t want to bother thinking too much. So we do them automatically. Life without habits would be hard to contemplate, wouldn’t it? Habits provide peace of mind so they are extremely useful. Sometimes we prefer to put our thoughts […]

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