What would you do with yourself if there were no problems to solve? How often do we make up problems to give us something to do?
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by Jonathan Maybe
Imagine you are a business owner or executive working 80+ hours a week.
What if you are a homemaker or caregiver putting in just as many or more hours?
What would happen if you were given a golden ticket which suddenly takes all of the responsibilities and other burdens off your shoulders? What might you do with your own mini-sabbatical?
Consider the following activities and the problems you might create:
- Planning and going on a two-week cruise or vacation
- Setting up tee times and playing unlimited rounds of golf for a week
- Planning and checking off 2 or 3 bucket list activities
- Visiting family and friends in multiple states you haven’t seen in years
- Make up a one- or two-week adventure of your own
How did it feel to contemplate those scenarios?
What would it be like to increase the problems of your choosing?
How important is problem-solving for you to feel engaged, purposeful and alive?
“It’s break time for your problem-solving mind.”
Image from Amazon
When do you have the most focus and ability to concentrate in a typical day? What duration of time is optimal before you begin losing this edge? How often do you press on beyond this noticeable decline in effectiveness?
In much the same way our bodies need to rest, renew, and recharge from physical exertion, our minds need periodic breaks to do the same.
Reading is a good example. How long is it before you start rereading the same sentence or need to go back a paragraph or two to comprehend and grasp various types of material?
One strategy that can be helpful is to switch between physical and mental activities to give the other capacity a break. At times when you are using both a total break may be the solution you’re looking for.
Do a google search on various productivity hacks. The Pomodoro Technique and the 20-Minute Rule are two approaches for your consideration.
“What is the problem that you are the answer to?”
Image from Unsplash by Hans-Peter Gauster
Consider all the roles and responsibilities you have in a typical day. How is it that you create value in your professional and personal communities?
Which of these efforts create the greatest intrinsic and extrinsic value for others and at the same time bring the greatest joy and life satisfaction to you?
Consider the overlapping of these areas as your personal and professional brand or niche. How much of your day do you expend in these efforts versus those that feel like an obligation or burden?
What are your special talents and unique abilities that light you up and solve meaningful problems in the world?
How might you realign your daily efforts to spend far more of your precious time doing what you were meant to do?
“What comes easy won’t last long, and what lasts long won’t come easy.”
Image from Unsplash by Dallas Reedy
Are you a builder?
All of us are, to some degree.
Take a trip into your memory banks to revisit the sand castles, school projects, tree houses, do-it-yourself projects, and perhaps even a business, you have begun or completed.
How much time and effort went into each example? Which of these have stood the test of time?
If you enjoy the idea of building extraordinary things, consider checking out the series Impossible Engineering on the Science Channel. Each episode details how giant structures and record-breaking buildings are built, how they work, and how they have shaped our modern world.
What are some of your most important personal and professional projects?
How will you maximize your efforts and levels of commitment to make sure they are built to last?
“Wherever we look upon this earth, the opportunities take shape within the problems.”
Image of Hans Rosling from TED.com
Looking at anything and declaring it a problem is a very human thing to do. In many ways, this very characteristic is what makes us human.
In his fascinating book, Factfulness, professor of international health and global TED phenomenon Hans Rosling and his colleagues Anna and Ola, offer an amazing new explanation of why we see the state of the world as far worse than the facts reveal.
Rosling explains what he calls the “Ten instincts that Distort our Perspective.” Among them are:
- Dividing the world into camps such as “Us and Them,” or developed and undeveloped countries.
- The way we consume media in which fear rules.
- How we perceive progress versus believing that things are getting worse wherever we look.
Rosling and his team of researchers are by no means blind to the significant challenges facing the world. He is, however, asking all of us to look closely and clearly at the objective facts to better enable us to tackle the very real problems facing humanity.
What is at least one significant opportunity in our world that you are committed to working on, given this clearer and objective perspective?
Please consider watching Hans Rosling’s TED Talks, and if you wish to learn more about his important work, read his book.
“Peace is not made at the council table or by treaties, but in the hearts of men.”
—Herbert Hoover, 31st President of the United States
Image from Flickr by Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan
In the movie, Miss Congeniality (2000), Sandra Bullock plays an undercover FBI Agent posing as a contestant when terrorists threaten to bomb the Miss United States beauty pageant. Bullock’s character, Gracie, is the only female FBI agent who can “look the part” despite her complete lack of refinement and femininity. She prides herself in being “just one of the boys” and is horrified at the idea of becoming a girly girl.
Since the film was a comedy, the audience wasn’t alarmed. We all happily watched all the interplay of contestants and other characters. In one scene, the contestants were asked about their personal goals and aspirations. Almost every contestant mentioned world peace at some point in their response.
In today’s dynamic and often violent world, we sure could use more people working on world peace in their personal and professional lives. If all of us did our part, we would never need a council table or treaty, which as President Hoover points out, rarely works.
What heartfelt attitudes and actions can you share in your communities to bring about greater peace on earth?
“Avoiding a problem doesn’t solve it.”
—Bonnie Jean Thornily, Illustrator
Image from www.dailymail.co.uk
The ostrich doesn’t really bury its head in the sand —it wouldn’t be able to breathe! But the female ostrich does dig holes in the dirt as nests for her eggs. Occasionally, she’ll put her head in the hole and turn her eggs.
People, on the other hand, often “bury their heads in the sand,” ignoring problems for long periods of time, hoping they will simply go away.
What issue or problem have you been avoiding, professionally or personally? Where would summoning the courage to take this issue “head on” make the biggest difference?
“Nip it in the bud!”
image from haveyoueverpickedacarrot.com
Today’s quote comes from the world of horticulture, where trimming a bud from a plant prevents it from becoming a flower or a piece of fruit.
Since most of us appreciate the beauty of flowers and the sweet taste of fruit, it would seem there would be little use for that advice, but this form of gardening prevents overgrowth or the spreading of unwanted issues.
As a metaphor in our lives, nipping things in the bud is a good practice when we wish to stop a potential problem before it blossoms into a major issue.
Where and on what issue would nipping it in the bud serve you best, personally or professionally?