There are two types of problems in life….the first are ‘quality’ problems and the second are ‘safe’ problems.
What do I mean by this? None of us consider problems SAFE, do we? The interesting thing is that SAFE problems actually keep us stuck where we don’t want to be, but are there because we are afraid of something else, more than them.
Anthony Robbins has been known to say:
“PAIN comes when your life conditions don’t match your model of the world.
SUFFERING comes when your life conditions don’t match your model of the world AND you feel powerless to change it.”
To reduce our issues down to two types of problems in life may seem difficult to fathom, but the real difference between QUALITY problems and SAFE problems is simply that a SAFE problem involves a level of self-imposed suffering. This comes from lack of sustainable ways to have your needs met and absence of VISION for your life. Your SAFE problem ‘suffering’ comes from not taking action to solve or rectify your issue. You play a victim to your circumstance, keep getting ‘upset’ with the situation but allow yourself to believe that you are powerless to change anything about it. An example of SAFE problems are when you experience depression; addictions; play blame games; avoid decisions; pretend you are happy when you are not; and withdraw from relationships.
QUALITY problems on the other hand are a ‘different kettle of fish’! They involve risky, forward thinking decisions that will most likely bring change and positive transformation into your life. They can literally take your life to a new level but may come with the challenge of confronting internal fears and highlight the need for asking quality questions to gain insight into your best options moving forward. Often considerable self-reflection and awareness is required to make progress. Such decisions may relate to career changes; relationship challenge and commitment; major life changes such as commiting to a new standard of life or taking a completely new direction from the past; forgiveness- of yourself and others; developing more positive beliefs and habits.
The first step to solve a problem, is to recognise the nature of it and by that I mean, distinguish the differences between the problems that challenge you. Ask yourself the question today-
“Are my current problems QUALITY or SAFE problems?”
There is infact only one key difference between the two- that is, simply a willingness to do what it takes to overcome IT and TAKE ACTION. To do this you need to believe that:
- There is A problem and you recognise what it is– I know this may sound too simple, but infact denial or lack of interest to really KNOW what the problem is, means you will not get rid of it anytime soon.
- You truelly DO want to FIX your problem– this means you have a strong “why” motivation to fix the problem.
- You believe it is POSSIBLE to overcome the problem– you have the right mindset which affirms you will be able to fix the problem, if only a matter of time until you have discovered the right solution.
- You are WILLING to brainstorm creative solutions and TAKE ACTION!
If you lack genuine insight, belief or intent in any of the above steps, you will fail in fixing your issue. Problem solving really does start with you taking ‘ownership’ of the situation and does not benefit from playing blame games. Of course this does not mean that it is without challenge, but it means you will be in the right frame of mind to ensure that one way or another you are committed to find a conclusive solution.
Even when there is another person involved in the issue, it is about approaching the conversation in a collaborative, open minded, compassionate way, rather than going in with ‘all guns a blazin’ to make them feel bad. It is not about who is right or who is wrong, but more about growth and awareness to better illustrate a ‘win win’ benefit to both of you moving forward. You cannot control the way someone chooses to respond to you, nor can you make them change their behaviour, but you can control the way you relate to them, your responses and the meaning you attach to such actions. In the end, we feel much better about ourselves if we have taken pro-active positive action and extended the hand of unity by trying to problem solve an issue which affects more than just us. Sometimes we have to be courageous enough to admit that change within US maybe necessary. Or, if the other person resists/denies such beneficial change that they might really need, the more positive solution maybe to remove ourselves from a negative situation.
Interestingly, the more positively and pro-actively we move into the whole process of problem solving, the more we are inclined to accept and be ready for any type of change as a positive outcome, even when it was not the solution we expected.