Understanding Your ‘Real’ Problem
By Paul Shearstone
Most people live day-to-day worrying about all their problems
when in reality; their biggest problem is… they think they ‘really
have’ all those problems!
Everyone has heard the expressions, “We bring it all on,
ourselves” and “You… are your own worst enemy!” Healthy-minded
— for the most part — acknowledge the wisdom in statements like
these. So why then, do so many of us have difficulty [a problem]
addressing and rectifying what is accepted and obvious? The answer
may not be all that mysterious.
Problem solving, like other human behavioral activities, is an
art and a science that is learned. The fact that some learn quicker
or more naturally than others, is just a part of being human.
Nevertheless, there are techniques and strategies people can learn
to recognize and respond to life’s ongoing challenges.
Think for a moment about the biggest problems you face today.
Stop what you are doing and allow yourself a couple of minutes
to fully concentrate on the obstructions in your life that are
causing you stress. [Note: Stress is the natural outcome from
That completed, step back from your thoughts to reflect and ask
yourself: When you thought about your problems, was your mind
focused on ‘The Problem’ — the ‘Result
of the Problem’ [potential
or otherwise] — or was it focused on the ‘Solution
for the Problem’?
At this point, it may be helpful to do this exercise again.
Not surprisingly, those untrained or mentally unequipped to deal
with problem solving, find that they focus single-mindedly on
— are you ready for this? — the ‘Result of the
or otherwise]. Simply put, they allow incredible life-debilitating
stress into their mind and thoughts regarding what they believe
could, should, might or will happen as a result of the problem.
This way of thinking serves only to denigrate the healthy and
stress free mental state they could be experiencing and life has
Emphasis on the words ‘Potential or Otherwise’ is
hallmark of the improper, albeit, natural way people invite stress
to take hold of their life. Studies by psychologists around the
world on human behavior confirm unequivocally, 90-95% of all that
we worry about, never comes to fruition. It simply never materializes!
All that stress and worry for situations that never exist.
Try and recall all the things you did, did not do
or could not do for fear of outcomes from problems that never happened.
look forward to determine what is likely to cause stress and hold
you back in the near future — which brings us to the fundamental
pitfalls of concentrating only on the ‘Problem’.
No one is sacrosanct [untouchable] from life’s challenges
large and small. Even the most successful among us have them.
Recognizing now that unwanted stress is frequently caused by nonexistent
problems, one can quickly learn to minimize negative thoughts
by qualifying whether a problem is, in fact, a problem.
A simple way to do this is to write the problem onto a piece
of paper. This act, in itself, serves to minimize most problems
simply by seeing it in print. The second step is to write:
a) The very Best possible outcome — should the problem
b) The very Worst possible outcome — should the problem occur.
Having done this, there are three ‘Stress-Diminishing’ Laws,
one can consider and also take comfort.
- The problem always looks less intimidating when it is in
- 90-95% of all problems never come to fruition.
- Should the problem be real and actually occur,
the outcome is ‘rarely’ the Best outcome or Worst
outcome you have identified
on paper. It is always somewhere in the middle — inevitably
to the more favorable expectation. That discovery, serves again
to minimize most problems, putting them into proper perspective
while at the same time, minimizing the stress level associated
This proven process also engenders more clear and enlightened
thought, allowing one to better focus on appropriate solutions.
Furthermore, it is the characteristic of the trained problem solver.
They are quick to Qualify / Quantify a given challenge, and then
if it is determined to be real, immediately turn their attention
to the solution — bypassing the added stress of fruitless, negative
In simpler words, they employ a self-talk mantra
that plays out something like this: “Clearly, the problem ‘Is
what it Is’ — So
what am I going to do to fix it?”
The Bottom Line:
The secret to problem solving and stress relief lie in our ability
to Recognize and Respond to REAL challenges — not wasting precious
time and energy on manufactured, angst-ridden influences that
may never arise. Those who learn to master this strategy, are
reassured to realize that they have far less stress and fewer
problems than they once speculated and worried so much about! •
© 2006 Paul Shearstone
About the Author
Paul Shearstone, International Keynote
Speaker, Author and Chronic Fatigue Survivor, is one of North America’s experts on Stress-Reduction
and Peak Performance.
His 3Rs Resilience Formula improves Performance & Profitability,
Saving companies and Healthcare, Money …Guaranteed!
For more information on this seminar or others Paul delivers,
we invite you to contact:
Success 150 Group Inc •
7305 Woodbine Ave. Suite 458 • Markham On Cda L3R 3V7 B: 416-728-5556
www.success150.com www.paulshearstone.com firstname.lastname@example.org 05/19/06