Updated: Aug 1, 2019
I’m guessing it’s the life lessons I was forced to learn the hard way, or the toll of losing both my parents in a span of 14 months. Oh, and then there is that ugly word called failure that I from time to time had to choose to endure. By the way, I’m not a hater but I hate you failure. There I said it! 😊
One day when I was 17 years old, my mother rocked me with the news that if things did not change for the better, she was going to divorce my stepdad. I went outside and jogged/walked for maybe 3-5 miles alone and cried. I was scared. I felt alone. I told no one this news but I felt very deeply saddened and desperately alone. Kind of like on an island but not a beautiful tropical island that’s for sure. More of a hostile type of island with no friends. Alone and sad.
Fortunately, I was very blessed as a high schooler, that my basketball coach was caring and motivating. One day at practice, I was struggling emotionally due to what my mother shared with me regarding the possibility of leaving my stepdad. I was really hurting deep inside. None of my teammates knew but coach sensed something was wrong within me.
During practice coach came up to me and said, “Come here. Are you ok? You don’t seem ok?”
I said, “Coach, I’m not sure my parents will stay together and I’m really hurting inside.”
Coach said, “Brownie, I’m really sorry you are going through this right now.
I said, “Coach, I’m kind of scared…”
And he said, “Try Brownie, not to be scared. You are not alone. I’m always here to listen.”
This really was the beginning of me learning how to become a problem solver.
Challenges and problems are unavoidable in life. At age 17, I began to learn how to navigate through the precarious world of problems and challenges.
Mom and dad did not divorce. In fact, they were married just short of 50 years. However, this challenging episode during my teens years was the catalyst of my becoming a problem solver.
How To Problem Solve
1. All’s Well That Begins Well
We have heard that all’s well that ends well. That’s cooI. However, I really like all’s well that begins well.
You see, in regards to problems in life, (I hate ‘em by the way) I have learned through the process called life, that if I choose to have a GREAT attitude as I enter the dark forest of problems that I’m already ahead. A GREAT attitude is a destroyer to problems! And problems, if you are listening, I’m out to destroy and solve you and I will! BOOM!
The attitude I choose, is very much like a weapon. Let me tell you, this weapon is a very significant and valuable weapon. This weapon is called the attitude of determination.
Things in life will go wrong, I get it. I don’t like when things go wrong but it’s just the way it is on this planet and probably other planets as well. However, I’m determined as heck to find a way through problems whatever they may be, and I will win! Yes, I will win. OH DID I SAY I WILL WIN?! AKA…determination!
So, how do I head down the path of winning?
2. There Is Always A Solution
I was 8 years old 50 years ago. It was the summer of ’69, we landed on the moon! We did it! We figured it out and did it! We freaking landed on the moon!
I do like to say that I’m not the sharpest tool in the toolbox. However, I am off the charts determined and I have experienced in my past, that there is always a solution to fix things. The trap of failure when one is trying to problem solve is thinking you’ve got to know it all. You don’t have to know it all! Who in the world knows it all? No one!
I’ve got great people in my life. They help me figure out problems. I’ve got I.T. friends, I’ve got an electrician friend, I’ve got contractor fix-it friends, I’ve got health and wellness friends. And the list goes on and on.
I have learned to STOP. LOOK. And LISTEN. I say to myself, “Self, this problem you are encountering is nothing close to being as difficult as landing on the moon and safely returning.” So, I love the challenge and make it kind of fun to figure it out and use the amazing resources around me…people and friends.
3. Seek Other People Out
This is one of the smartest things I’ve ever done in my life in regard to problem solving! I realized a long time ago as I gave up the pride (and that’s really difficult to do) and realized that I’m not Einstein (He did not know it all either, however he was really smart 😊). So, it’s no surprise to anyone that Michael Brown is NOT Einstein. Who is? Not me. But I can be one smart dude and seek wisdom, advice and council from the vast amount of people I know. As mentioned in #2, There is Always A Solution, most of the time in my life, problem solving solutions is me discovering the people in my life to help me.
I want to encourage you; life is about team! There are a ton of friends in my life who know what I’m not so strong in. If I humble myself and ask for their help, I’m on my way to solving the problem I’m dealing with. These friends and people in my life are always willing to assist me with my challenges, problems and provide me with an opportunity to receive help and learn.
4. Turn Problem Solving Into A Habit
Scientists have suggested that, with a little willpower, it takes roughly 30 days for a person to form a new habit. As with mastering anything new, the act of starting and getting beyond the preliminary stage where everything feels awkward is 80% of the battle. This is precisely why it’s important to make small, positive changes every day over the course of at least a 30-day period.
I hate problems in life, (That means I’m pretty much normal) but I learned a great lesson at age 17 on that basketball court by being encouraged by my coach. As a result, I have become a problem solver addict and a learner. Coach said try not to be scared and that he was there to listen and that I’m not alone. Wow! It’s crazy how I’ve turned problem solving into a habit!
Oh, for sure I still get scared from time to time like when I was diagnosed with stage 2 melanoma, but I’ve learned to be one habitual problem solver!
It’s habitual for me to take on new problems with a good attitude, seeking a solution, and pondering on who are the people I know who could assist me?
Listen and trust me. Some kind of failures always occur before success! Don’t try to control the uncontrollable…problems. Some forces are out of your control, but you can control how you react to problems.
How to react? Become a problem solver!
It’s your turn…
If you only remember four words from this whole lesson, let them be: Become A Problem Solver.
Please leave Me a comment below and let me know what you moved you in the post. Your feedback is important to me. This is one of the ways I’m inspired and learn.
Let’s keep moving together on the journey! 🙂