It does not matter where you are in life, be you looking where the next plate of food is coming from or where to go on your next continental holiday; the level of your problems typically correlates to the level of success you crave. 

If you are satisfied with your status quo, life is a lot easier. If however, you are striving for your freedom and autonomy, this involves more problems. Problems are opportunities for us to learn and grow. Think of the challenges you have overcome in your life, and how it made you feel when you came through them. Did you feel constricted or more expansive and proud of yourself? Regardless of whether we fail or succeed, it’s our challenges which make and shape us who we are; and provide us with the wisdom of the experience. 

If during a challenge, you, someone or something else lets you down and your quest slips further away, this changes our behavioural focus, we begin to focus what’s gone wrong rather than what’s gone right. And as any neuroscientist will tell us, where our thoughts go, our energy goes and we literally start to re-wire our brains – focusing on what’s wrong. Is this what we really want? This is not looking at life with rose-tinted glasses. Yes, things go wrong and need correcting, but we need to be aware of our primary focus. When challenges occur and things go wrong; pause, count calmly to ten*, and enquire within for a good solution. 

  • What can I learn from this?
  • What actions can I take today to fix this, and or prevent this happening again?

* The Canoeist Rule: if a canoeist capsizes in a flowing river, they are taught not to automatically get out, or battle to right the canoe, as it’s not always safe as capsizing can be disorientating. Instead, they are taught to count to ten, (calming down after the initial shock of capsizing – particularly if in cold water), and then decide whether it is safer to upright the canoe or to get out. We don’t come up with good solutions when we are in a panic or stressed state. Where do you tend to get most of your good ideas? I suspect it’s when you are in moments of calmness and peace; and not when you are stressed. 

If people don’t want problems, it means they want the status quo. Which is fine? But if you crave personal growth and fulfilment in your life like me, the greater our problems, the greater our (conscious/subconscious) ambitions must be. . . which is a good thing. 

Yes, this is easier said than done, as I know all too well, but practice makes perfect, as any toddler would say when they are learning to walk.