Facing a big problem head on can be pretty tough. It seems easier to avoid it, at least for awhile. Can you think of ways we avoid problems, either consciously or unconsciously? Here is what I have come up with:
Denial: You would think that if it is big it is not easy to deny. Well, I think my mind has done a pretty good job at times in not accepting something as a problem.
Minimizing it: OK so we admit we have a problem but hey, “no big deal”. This is a cousin to denial.
Under react: We take action but in a half hearted fashion and with steps that will not completely solve the problem.
In all three of these cases, in my experience, the problem festers. If anything it gets bigger and hurts more.
I had to make a choice today. I had a problem that has been festering for awhile. I think I may have employed all three tactics above until finally, today, I said enough is enough.
Finally, I chose to be honest with myself. Festering does increase pain little by little. The only question is when we will reach the point that we decide to face it.
I think I was fifteen years old when I first read Dale Carnegie’s book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. See Chapter 4. I have read it many times since. He put a lot of good ideas into how to deal with problems in that book.
In management, in sales, in coaching everywhere I have found one of his simple formulas to work quite nicely….when I get to the point that I am ready to face the problem head on.
- “Get the facts”. Define the Problem. How could we possibly solve a problem unless we can accurately articulate what that problem is.
- “Analyze the facts”. Consider possible solutions. There are often a number of solutions to a problem. Think them all through. This requires some effort, some time and a quiet place perhaps to ponder how things might play out.
- “Arrive at a decision”. Pick the best solution. Trust yourself. Again, if we have integrity and are looking out for the interests of all concerned, for those problems that affect others, it will probably work out.
- Put that solution into action. At this point just move forward. Procrastination is a step backward. We need to watch out that delay does not nullify the thought and effort we put into solving the problem.
Facing a problem head on as you can tell started when we chose to look at it almost objectively, from outside ourselves. I think to some degree we have to put some emotion aside perhaps, especially if that emotion is fear of facing the problem. This might sometimes take courage. Don’t discard emotion though. It is who we are but don’t let anything negative rule the day.
Dale Carnegie listed three basic steps. The third included taking action. The only thing I might add to these four points is first to decide, no matter what, with courage, to face the problem head on. And frankly if it takes some wisdom from above to solve those problems, especially those that seem “unsolvable”, then do it with full purpose of heart.