Life’s Problems Are Inevitable
In the hub recently, a colleague started a discussion about the film ‘Inside Out’ It is a film aimed primarily at children. I took my children to the cinema and they loved it. The film is set inside the head of a young girl and her emotions are characters who reside in her head and try to guide her through life – Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust. My kids loved Anger because flames fired out of his head.
However, where you’d expect Joy to be the most important and main character, it is actually suggested and the film demonstrates that balance is most important and that all emotions are equally valid and all have a place and a relationship with another. It is a very good point that is made, and the film had a number of psychologists as consultants to advise regarding the central tenets of the film. Do google it, read about it and go see the film if you haven’t yet, it is great viewing for adults and children alike and has a number of valuable lessons and reminders.
One notion inherent in the film is that problems are an inevitable part of life. They just are. Change happens and problems happen.
People can become obsessed with wanting Joy above all else. I watched the film and spent most of it just wanting Joy to prevail and Sadness to wither. Yet Sadness actually serves some very useful purposes in the film – it reminds the girl of things that are important to her and helps her appreciate her other emotions The reality is similar; people actively seek out Joy and happiness, and because we pursue them so readily, we demonise Sadness and we forget that sadness and some of life’s lows are an integral part of a balanced life.
A lot of problems are caused by refusing to accept this.
For starters then, why not embrace life as it is?
My fired and professional peer, the brilliant magician and hypnotist James Brown does a demonstration about the power of relaxation. He asks for a couple of burly men to join him on stage and they securely hold and grip his arms as tight as they can and he struggles and strain in a tense, muscular fashion to release himself without too much success. He then completely relaxes his body, becomes fluid and at ease and those holding him struggle to keep hold of him in the same way. It is a very valuable illustration of my first point today.
If we simply run away from negativity, the more it will seize us.
Back in 2014, the Daily Telegraph ran an article about the oldest person in the world who stated that her longevity was attributed to eating, sleeping and she says “You have to learn to relax.”
Problems in life are inevitable. Suffering is optional though. Suffering often occurs due to severe cases of ‘shouldism.’ We grasp onto ideas about how our life should be, how our environment should be, how our finances should be, how other people should be, how everything should be. As Albert Ellis called it, ‘the tryanny of the shoulds.’
In reality, everything should be how it is.
Yet people insist on creating problems. A problem is created what what you have differs greatly from what you want. A chasm is created. I talk about this often.
- You want to be well-off, but you are just making ends meet.
- You want to be slim, but you love eating cake and drinking beer.
- You want to do well in your job, but you do not get on with your boss.
- You want to write a book, but you don’t have time to sit down and write it.
Most people attempt to avoid problems. Most people fear problems. Most people certainly dislike them.
As I’ve written already though, problems are absolutely inevitable.
Therefore, as well as learning to accept life as it is, why not learn how to enjoy having life’s problems?
Why not consider them useful, why not consider them as a central part of your own personal development, your psychological and emotional growth?
People usually believe that problems are obstacles preventing them from having something they want. Problems are believed to be something that gets in the way of happiness or life enjoyment. They are barring our progress to those goals that we have. Problems are interpreted in a way that suggests something must have gone wrong for the problem to have happened. Therefore, the natural thing to do is to avoid situations, circumstances and scenarios whereby a problem might occur.
By avoiding though, the problems still occur and life gets filled with problems that are being ignored but are piling up. Very often we then resort to escapism or distraction of some kind to ease the stress – drinking, eating, Facebook, TV, films, internet, video games, shopping, but they never truly release you from the sinking feeling and the accompanying stress, worry and anxiety. It remains and more problems simply pile up on top of those that have been shoved away for the time being.
Today, we seek out tablets. When we are poorly, we see the doctor who prescribes tablets. When we have questions, we get given the answers by Google. We want immediate satiation, quick answers, rapid solutions and we want to avoid all challenge. As a result, many people opt to remove problems from their life, often choosing to make life easier or simpler and that results in less challenge and is a temporary solution only. It is unfulfilling and the annoyance never truly dissipates.
The longer problems are left, avoided, ignored or framed purely in negative terms, the more of a burden they become and the greater lengths we go to as we avoid, ignore, remove, and negatively frame problems in a more impressive fashion.
What if you embrace problems though? Instead of letting them drive you into the ground, why not let them lift you up? Why not use them to become stronger?
I was chatting to a club runner after the New Forest marathon last Sunday. She told me that she doubted she could run a half marathon much faster than she had done that day. I suggested that it was very likely to remind that way if she totally believed that to be true and we had a laugh about it. We spoke about the kind of training she did and she told me how much she disliked the intervals sessions at her club nights (this is where you faster and harder for periods of time with short recovery breaks in between. They are challenging and tough sessions); she often avoided the nights at her running club where they were scheduled to do an intervals training session! She told me “it makes me feel so tired and uncomfortable during it, I just don’t like interval training.”
She may feel tired and even uncomfortable in the short run, but the gains she’ll make in the long run will be impressive and she’ll run faster as a result. Deal with the problems that may involve some initial discomfort or challenge (especially if we are used to avoiding or escapism), but we become stronger and better when we have done so.
That does not mean though, that we simply look to resolve the issue and get beyond the problem. That is like saying that you’ll go to the club intervals running session just so that it can be over. Yet the journey when running can be so enjoyable; you learn so much about yourself, and it can actually be a very enjoyable experience in and of itself. I often tell friends that I find some perverse pleasure in the tough running I do and I know so many fellow runners who agree with that.
It is the process of dealing with the problem that is important.
To enjoy it, pay attention to it, understand it – this helps us develop, improve and grow.
Perhaps a problem someone might have is not enjoying their job, or wishing that their business would do better. Most people I mentor or talk to about their business are desperate to arrive at a solution as quickly as possible, yet do not see the value in the process involved or the journey that they are embarking on.
My own business does well today. I had to solve the problem of it not doing so well for the first few years where I struggled with it and nearly packed it all in. As well as examining the actual business practice, I needed to examine myself and my role within the business. There were some tough steps to take, some hard truths to be heard and a lot of work that needed doing. I ran the metaphoric speed intervals though, I grew stronger, I learned more, I developed and improved, and my business did the same.
If I had to start another business, I know that I am capable of doing that and how to apply myself. I am not concerned, worried, or stressed at the prospect of having to start again – I know I’d cope and then thrive again. In that process of developing my business, the real gain was not having a successful business that I am proud of (which I am) the real gain was the resilience, the knowledge, the attitude I adopted and the psychological skills I honed.
This might seem like I am digressing for a moment, but it totally relates to the previous paragraph…..
Go and read stats and accounts of the lives of lottery winners. Everyone thinks that their issues would all be solved as a result of winning the lottery. Yet studies tend to suggest that the real pleasure tends to come from knowing that you created your own wealth for yourself. Often lottery winners lack the skills needed to derive genuine happiness from winning the lottery. In fact, for many, more money from an instant lottery win creates more problems.
Also, look at the amount of people that apply for the X-Factor or other instant fame TV shows around the world They claim it is the single most important thing in their lives. Many people want the instant end-result without knowing anything of the journey. Read about the journey of the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Elvis and other legends of music. Just like taking a tablet, googling an answer, we live in a world where we want our goals immediately without valuing the journey or even understanding the importance of learning how to get to the goal achievement capably for ourselves.
What about the incredibly important lessons?
What about the journey?
What about dealing with the challenges?
The challenges that actually teach and train us to have what we need to fulfil ourselves deeply.
Problems build strength, resource, resilience, life skills and so much more. There is so much reward and emotional/psychological sustenance to be had from enjoying the process of dealing with our problems.
I have written over and over about how I use problem solving therapy within my own work with my clients. Virtually every client starts off being quite unimpressed when I suggest it – they want hypnosis, magic, techniques that give immediate results and not something that has seemingly no sex appeal at all.
Yet they all learn to love it. They all get better at it as they progress. They get better and become more intelligent at dealing with their own problems effectively. They get curious about their own problems, and together, we build an attitude that enjoys and relishes dealing with problems.
All the sharp elderly people I know have had their brains stimulated throughout their lives – they do daily crosswords, sudoku puzzles, and today we can all use wonderful apps to train our brain I use Cognifit, Brain HQ, Elevate and a few others every day to help aid my own concentration, memory and to exercise my brain just as much as my legs get exercised with the miles I run each week. More and more people recognise the value of doing this for advancing cognitive functioning. And you know what? Virtually all these apps, just like the crosswords and puzzles that preceded them are all ways of learning to love problem solving.
Today, I get disappointed when I have completed a puzzle on a brain training app on my iPad. This is because I have learned to enjoy the problem solving process so much. All my students will tell you how genuinely happy and excited I get when I teach problem solving therapy in class too.
When you first start to adopt this attitude, an attitude of loving dealing with problems, you can see that there are a lot of problems around you that have been put off, ignored, avoided, or allowed to build up Write them down, work on the manageable stuff first. You’ll become better at dealing with problems and will start working through the ore challenging things. When you get to those more challenging problems, deal with them in stages and steps and work your way through it soberly, systematically and with patience.
Each time you tackle problems, think of it as doing a speed intervals running session for your life. You are training yourself, developing, improving, getting stronger and fitter. The smaller problems will also stop feeling the same as they used to. You’ll feel more resourceful, you’ll have more problem solving experience, you’ll have a more positive attitude and a belief in your own capability.
There’ll be challenges, just like the speed intervals running session has. That session is supposed to be demanding. If it was a stroll around the block, you wouldn’t get faster, you wouldn’t develop in the same way. The challenge helps us grow. Every time you are working on a problem, enjoy knowing that you are developing and getting stronger! be thankful for them. Enjoy the self-improvement.
If you’d like to learn more or if this has resonated with you in some way, then visit these pages:
1. Do you need help with some of the problems in your life?
Coaching with Adam Eason Or Hypnotherapy with Adam Eason
2. Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist helping others overcome their problems?
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.
3. Are you a hypnotherapist for whom problems are negatively effecting the success of your business?
Hypnotherapist Mentoring with Adam Eason.