“In the book of life, the answers aren’t in the back.”

“In the book of life, the answers aren’t in the back.”

Charles Schulz, creator of the comic strip Peanuts

Image from Unsplash by Patrick Tomasso

Today’s quote takes me back to grade school. Back then, we had hefty textbooks to lug around from class to class.

I specifically remember the math books. What made them different from the rest was that they had an answer key in the back to check our work. They usually contained only half the answers, and we were left to work out the rest on our own.

In life, many of us wait too long to discover the answers to the problems we experience along the way.

There is no answer key even at the end of many years with the right answers. The only thing we often find there is regret.


As you turn the pages of your life, how can you trust the answer keys of your head, heart and gut to come up with many more of the right answers for you?

“When faced with a problem, we can choose to wait on it or we can choose to work on it.”

“When faced with a problem, we can choose to wait on it or we can choose to work on it.”

Stephen St. Amant, author of Savenwood

Image from Unsplash by Karla Hernandez

Taking the time to reflect and ponder on our problems can be a very useful exercise.

Turning our challenges over in our minds can offer us a wider range of perspectives, and ways forward.

At times when we are completely stumped it can be helpful to reach out to others for guidance and assistance.

Taking a wait and see period beyond a reasonable length of time creates a paralysis that can trickle into other areas of our lives.

This often leads to a genderized gridlock and significant loss of confidence and self-efficacy.


On what issue have you been waiting too long for your problem to somehow resolve on its own?

Where is it time to take greater initiative and get to work to break-through the obstacles facing you?

“What is the problem that you are the answer to?”

“What is the problem that you are the answer to?”

—Author Unknown

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?

Avoiding Problems

“Avoiding a problem doesn’t solve it.”

—Bonnie Jean Thornily, Illustrator

Image of an ostrich with its head in the sand

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

“Nip it in the bud!”

—Author Unknown

Image of fingers pinching off a new leaf

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?

“Every problem introduces a person to himself.”

“Every problem introduces a person to himself.”

– John McDonnell, coach

What are your current problems, challenges, or the places in your life where you are stopped in your tracks? What is your current situation that has you see these issues as problems? If some hypothetical super-person with capabilities and capacities beyond your own was faced with a similar situation, would these issues be a problem for them?


Consider your current problems as an opportunity to become more aware and clear about your own limiting beliefs, perspectives and perhaps capabilities.

Consider ways to expand your capabilities in your current view of yourself as a super-person who easily tackles such matters.

#66: “To raise new questions, new possibilities…”

“…to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.”

– Albert Einstein

When I was in school, success was all about getting the correct answer. In recent years, I have become fascinated by powerful questions and the fact that there are often many possible answers.

I am becoming far more comfortable with ambiguity and shades of grey. I think Einstein, through his study of quantum physics and his quotes pertaining to the mysteries life demonstrates, has led many (including myself) in this direction.


How can you use powerful questions to do some heavy lifting and find the added strength and capacity to advance your life?

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“You cannot dream yourself into a character…”

“You cannot dream yourself into a character, you must hammer and forge yourself into one.”

– James Anthony Froude, English historian

QC #1021a

Image from Flickr by Hans Splinter

We sometimes hope for a quick-fix that will resolve our problems, and dream of how our future lives would look.  If only we could find that magic bullet!

Dreaming is important, as is having a vision. But neither comes to pass without the work it takes to realize our dreams.

The great leaders and people of our time had dreams and shared their visions. To realize those visions, though, they all worked hard, and put in tremendous effort over many years. These people of character have the bumps, bruises and calluses to show for it.

Here is a secret: Find something of extraordinary value and meaning in your life. Pursue something you truly love to do, and you will enjoy the process.


What do you envision and dream about that would be worth a lifetime of hard labor?