3 Ways to Get Rid of 97% of Your Problems
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What Is a Problem Anyway?
According to the Google definition a problem is “a matter or situation regarded as unwelcome or harmful and needing to be dealt with and overcome.”
Ok. So a problem is an unwelcome situation.
It seems that in our world there are many unwelcome situations…
A World of Problems
This is hilarious.
We find problems EVERYWHERE:
- The hand doesn’t fit into the Pringles tube
- The printer needs magenta ink for black and white copies
- There is only one armrest between the seats in the cinema
- The ice cream is melting down the fingers
- The YouTube video takes ages to load
- There is only a tiny sip of milk left in the fridge
- The earphones get tangled up in the bag
You know some of these “problems”.
These are not real problems. Agree?
And still, people get annoyed by such things.
How often do you hear people complaining about trivial stuff like that?
- It’s freakin’ hot in here!
- Aaaand the train is late, perfect…
- Fuck off! Did you see that driver? It’s my right of way, jerk!
- Damn it! The skimmed milk is sold out. DAMN!
- How long does it take them to serve my food? I’m starving!
- Hell no! The mall is fucking crowded. I don’t understand all these people.
- Arrgh… The WiFi doesn’t work!!! Nooo!
- Who are you staring at? Do you have a problem?
The point is:
People complain about stuff all the time. And if there’s something to complain about, there must be some sort of problem, right?
Okay, so let’s look at 3 easy ways to get rid of 97% of all your problems.
Kill Your Probs #1:
Get Rid of 40% of Your Problems by Using
The 2 Categories Strategy
Let’s split up all the problems up into 2 categories.
Let’s say there are problems you can do something about.
For example, if you don’t fit in your clothes anymore, you can do something about it.
Option A: You buy new clothes.
Option B: You lose weight.
There are many problems you can do something about. If there’s no more toilet paper, you can buy some. If you’re super tired, you can get more sleep. If you don’t know how to cook veggies, you can look up a recipe. Etc…
Then, there are problems you cannot do anything about. You cannot influence these problems.
For example, if the weather is not how you like it, you can’t change it. If your flight has been cancelled, you can’t change that.
With these problems, you can only choose your reaction.
Option A: You’re pissed off because of the cancelled flight. (Loser option.)
Option B: You’re not pissed off. (You accept that the flight is cancelled and make the best out of it. --> Winner option!)
In short: There are problems, or situations, you can do something about and some you can’t do anything about.
I guess you agree when I say it’s smartest not to get bothered with situations you can’t change anyway. You just need to accept things as long as you can’t change them.
Let’s take the weather: If you’re totally unhappy with the weather in England and cannot accept it, then you probably need to move to Jamaica. If moving is no option, then you simply need to accept the English weather.
Change it or accept it.
There’s no reason for getting unhappy about things we cannot change.
So, this kills approximately 40% of all our problems. All the things we cannot control are not really problems to us. It’s just the way it is.
As soon as we get influenced by things we cannot control we get helpless victims.
See? If we feel shit about something we cannot affect, we have no chance to change that. We are a victim that feels terrible for something we can’t do anything about.
Yes, we become victims.
If the train is running late, and we get pissed off about that, then we are victims. I mean seriously, if we get upset because of things we cannot influence, then we are meant to be unhappy. For many people for example, the weather is never right. It’s always too hot, or too cold, or too fucking humid or windy…
So, if the train is running late, there is no bloody reason to get upset about that. We cannot change it. We can only choose our reaction.
Late train, bad weather --> NOT a problem.
Look at the situation and ask yourself “Can I do something about this situation?” If the answer is “No” then it’s not a problem.
If the answer is “Yes” then maybe Kill Your Probs #2 helps.
Kill Your Probs #2:
Get Rid of another 30% of Your Problems by Using The Size of the Problem Is the Size of You Strategy
This is cool.
The size of the problem is never the issue – what matters is the size of you! – T. Harv Eker
What matters is the size of you. If you have a big problem it means you are a small person...
Let me explain how this helped me.
A few years back I complained about shit all the time…
- Aww! Did you just fart? Go to hell!
- Why didn’t you turn off the lights?
- You’ve got more than me. Give me some of yours.
- Oh no… Tomorrow I need to get up before 5 am!
- I have too much homework!
You know, just stupid trivialities…
So, when I learned about the saying that you are as big as your problems I suddenly stopped complaining about shit. I just told myself, I’m bigger than this.
- Too much homework? — Not really a problem.
- A super stinky fart? — Hah, no problemo.
- Get up super early? — Easy-peasy.
Just the idea that the size of my problems is the size of me helped me outgrow most of my problems. This is why I like that quote:
You can tell the size of a man by the thing that makes him mad. – Adlai E. Stevenson
I want to be a big man, so I don’t get mad easily. Simple as that.
In short: Most of my “problems” are no problems anymore because I want to be bigger than my problems as a person.
Trust me, this trick kills many so called problems.
Next time you come across an unwelcoming situation, before you get pissed off, ask yourself: “Is this the size of me? Am I that small of a person?”
- An asshole in traffic? Nothing happened. No reason to get pissed off.
- My flat mate didn’t do the dishes? Again? It sucks but it’s not a big deal. I’ll talk to him tomorrow.
- The WiFi doesn’t work? Ha, so what? That’s nothing. Time to meditate.
- I’ve made a mess on my shirt with tomato sauce… Pas de problème.
The point is: Most of our problems are not really a big thing, so when we just think about it for a second, we realize that there’s no reason to get angry, annoyed, frustrated, stressed etc…
We are bigger than our problems. --> No problems anymore.
Cool. There’s 1 more strategy.
Kill Your Probs #3:
Get Rid of another 27% of Your Problems by Using The Put It in Perspective Strategy
Yes, there are bigger problems than a stinky fart and a lot of homework:
- Bills to pay
- Difficult relationship
- Asshole boss and a shit job
With such problems it helps to put them in perspective.
Let me explain.
Most of our problems vanish as soon as something BIG happens. You know, a major life experience like the death of a close one, a serious illness, you lose your home, or your job, or just something else really big compared to everyday things happens.
Such an event puts everything in perspective.
Situations that annoyed us seem so ridiculous now.
Let’s say someone you love is seriously ill.
- Your headache seems irrelevant now. Like a joke.
- No more milk? So what!
- Many bills to pay? We’ll figure it out.
All these everyday problems are tiny, tiny small now. They’re like gone. All these problems exist no longer. They’re just like nasty ants that can be shaken off. Scratch once and that’s it.
Think about it. Your loved one is ill. And you go and see a friend. She doesn’t know about your sick loved one. So, she talks about her problems: Poor sleep for 2 nights, an annoying boss, slight weight gain, many bills to pay, difficult relationship with her lover etc…
These problems seem ridiculous to you. All you hear is this: “There’s an ant on my leg, and two on my head, and here’s one little annoying ant on my cheek. I tell you, these ants are sooo annoying. I can’t handle them no longer.”
Hah! This must be a joke.
So, major life events put things in perspective. Normal problems are no problems anymore. And this is actually a good thing. Apart from the fact that major life events are mainly negative they are helpful as they show us that normal everyday problems are not really problems…
The “problem” now is that such events happen very rarely and soon after the event we swing back into everyday life and forget about the major event --> Small things appear big again.
Luckily, we can mentally fake such events to consciously put things in perspective.
If you’ve had such a major life event, just think about that when you face everyday problems. Put it in perspective.
If you’ve never experienced such a major life event, just think about what it would mean if you lost a loved one, or if you got seriously ill (I know this is terrible to imagine, so just do it in the beginning to help you put things in perspective.)
- Okay, it is actually annoying that my phone is broken and I lost all my contacts. But c’mon. This is nothing really.
- Yes, I have many bills to pay. But first of all, what are those bills for? Mortgage, TV, car, cell phone, new clothes etc… And second, I’ll figure it out.
- I fucked up my exams. What does this mean? I’m still young, healthy, and got shelter…
So, if we put things in perspective something magical happens: Most problems vanish.
Now, what do we do with the remaining 3% of the problems?
Outgrow Your Real Problems
Here’s what my Swiss country fellow Carl Jung said about problems:
We don’t so much solve our problems as we outgrow them. We add capacities and experiences that eventually make us bigger than the problems. – Carl Jung
Yes, this is basically the UPGRADE of Kill Your Probs #2.
It’s the same idea.
The idea is to focus on yourself rather than the problem.
And that seems to be the secret to success…
The secret to success is not to try to avoid or get rid of or shrink from your problems; the secret is to grow yourself so that you are bigger than any problem. – T. Harv Eker
Grow yourself so that you are bigger than any problem.
So there are no more problems per se, there are only challenges.
If you face an unwelcoming situation in life, look at it as a challenge that you want to master.
And that’s something you might have learned from the Pirates of the Caribbean…
The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. – Captain Jack Sparrow
And even if he was drunk when he said that, there’s something to it. With the right attitude the problem is no problem anymore… It’s a challenge.
So, whatever happens in your life, don’t see it as a problem but as a challenge. You might even want to enjoy the challenge as it’s a great opportunity to grow as a person. And isn’t that an end goal of life?
Well, it’s at least one of my goals in life.
Another bonus of seeing problems as challenges is that you focus on the solution. Yes, the challenge wants to be mastered, so you already look at the solution rather than the problem.
The point is:
Focus on yourself rather than the situation. As long as you grow as a person you’ll see that there are less and less problems in life. At some point, there won’t be any problems, just challenges.
The Western world has generally more than ever before.
More money. More food. More cars. More houses. More people. More jewelry. More everything. AND MORE PROBLEMS.
We have all we need. And still see a thousand problems.
We looked at 3 simple ways to get rid of 97% of your problems:
- The 2 Categories Strategy: Many of our problems are situations we cannot do anything about. So we better accept them or otherwise we become helpless victims that complain about things we cannot influence. Let’s focus on what we can influence and control.
- The Size of Your Problems Is the Size of You Strategy: Just say to yourself that you are the size of your problems. Most trivial problems won’t bother you anymore. You are bigger than your problems.
- The Put It in Perspective Strategy: Major life events show us how ridiculous some of our everyday problems really are. By putting problems in perspective we realize that most of them are just annoying ants we can shake off easily.
These 3 simple strategies eliminate most of our problems. For the real problems we found one last strategy:
- Outgrow Your Problems: Let’s take the remaining problems as challenges so we can grow as a person. In the end it’s not about the problem, but about us and what we do about them. Let’s focus on the challenge and grow as a person.
If you want to make permanent change, stop focusing on the size of your problems and start focusing on the size of you! – T. Harv Eker
Cool. There we go.
I hope you realized that many of our problems are not really problems. And the real problems can help us grow as a person.
So, in the end we may ask: Are there even real problems?
Let me know in the comments.