Life is a set of problems if you think about it this way. And you don’t need to be a pessimist to do that. I’m always eager to achieve new things, love life and live it to the fullest, and enjoy the present moment. But I can’t deny the fact that our work flow, peace of mind and plans are most often ruined by what we call life problems.
That reminder came to me by having to begin the day with 2 quite unpleasant things.
Any other day I’m having my usual daily routine, waking up with a smile and determination, and getting to work on what I love doing.
But this time I had to deal with the support of a hosting provider as I couldn’t access my site. I had to upload a new database last night, which brought the content to where it was around a month ago. I’m not even sure I had to do that. What’s more, I have to wait for an agent to get back to me, be transferred between departments, and almost never have somebody who’ll hear the details about the situations and truly care.
Next, there’s the fact that the PayPal accounts of my parents were hacked some time ago, and they are still suffering the consequences. There is a chargeback now and a dispute can’t be opened for this exact case anymore. So the hacker is still getting what he wanted. I do have to deal with customer support on their behalf though, and do a research on some unpleasant financial and fraud issues (as they don’t speak English).
These 2 are nothing compared to life’s biggest problems. I know that.
Before heading to bed last night, I reminded myself of the big picture, and this seems tiny compared to it. But it was something that had to be dealt with first thing in the morning. And that happens in life pretty often.
Here are the two most important things that had to happen a long time ago, so that today I just act, instead of worrying or avoiding problem solving.
For a start, choose your own problems.
There’s an aspect of lifestyle design I haven’t really discussed. It’s not something big, but it is key. And can only be experienced if you’ve been making things happen in your life for quite some time now.
What does it mean to choose your own problems? Let me give you some examples.
At a regular job, you have to deal with all kinds of problems that make you start hating the place, the work, the colleagues, the management. But there’s no way to say ‘no’ to this as it will cost you too much. Instead, you deal with anything, from a new annoying colleague, to a client who’s angry for nothing, to the coffee machine not working, to your opinion not being heard.
However, if you’re a lifestyle designer by nature, you’d ditch the 9 to 5 and either be a freelancer or have some kind of your own business. Being self-employed still goes together with problems. It’s just that then they are your own, and ones you’ve chosen. So you will fix them with more determination and passion, simply because you care about your craft.
The first one of the 2 problems today that I described above, is something that comes with owning your own site. And I truly want to solve this. But it also led to content being lost which I now have to prepare and publish again. Some sponsored posts for clients (who already paid) disappeared. And I’ll immediately put them back.
Nothing that can’t be fixed. But it causes me a lot of pressure as I want things to be done well, and clients to be happy at any moment.
Let me give you another example of how problems between people differ. My grandma was recently given a new phone by a relative, one with quite many features for her. And that brought a ton of new problems into her days.
At the same time, though, when she traveled a bit this summer with friends, she experienced many new and different issues. Those she chose, however.
See the difference?
Think about your concerns in life.
The ones from daily life, and the big ones. Which ones come due to outer factors, living life on autopilot, just doing what you’ve been told?
And which ones came to your life simply because you started working on a new project, let a great person in, moved to a new country, etc.?
See how you feel about these 2 kinds of life problems, and how your methods and mindset for solving them differs.
This point was an important one to make. Now, moving onto the second one – something so many people try to deny and make excuses for, when it boils down to this:
Take responsibility for anything that happens to you.
“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”
If you want to find a solution to a problem, stop blaming, take responsibility, then go find a reasonable way out.
Here’s how Mark Manson describes this:
‘The more we choose to accept responsibility for in our lives, the more power we will exercise over our lives. Accepting responsibility for our problems is the first step to solving them.
A lot of people hesitate to take responsibility for their problems because they believe that to be responsible for your problems is to also be at fault for your problems.
We are responsible for experiences that aren’t our fault all the time. This is part of life.
Fault is past tense. Responsibility is present tense. Fault results from choices that have already been made. Responsibility results from the choices you’re currently making every second of every day. You are choosing to read this. You are choosing to think about the concepts. You are choosing to accept or reject the concepts. It may be my fault that you think my ideas are lame, but you are responsible for coming to your own conclusions. It’s not your fault that I chose to write this sentence, but you are still responsible for choosing whether to read it or not.’
If you want to take control of your life, it’s time to stop living in denial and let go of the need to blame. There will always be at least 10 outer factors (people, circumstances or life itself) to blame for anything that happens to you. But that only shows you’re weak and won’t face your problems.
Instead, you can take responsibility, accept that this depends on how you see the situation and how you respond to it, and go do something about it.
It’s also your responsibility to be happy, to do work you love, to surround yourself with people you care about.
And now, let’s talk about living a life with less of these problems:
1. Eliminate anything you don’t like about your lifestyle.
I believe transformations begin not by adding new elements that seem perfect, but by removing what’s unnecessary and only bringing stress and negativity.
That’s toxic people, for a start.
If you have someone in your surroundings playing the role of a victim, or a complainer, or someone always getting in trouble and blaming the system, then you have more problems than people who live without such individuals in their life.
I say stop seeing these people. Life’s too short for that.
This elimination process can be done for a ton of other things. Such as your job, the place you live in, your education, your bad habits, your doubts and negative mindset, your back pain, your lack of creativity, your bad relationship, etc.
Think each aspect of your life through. And see what must be removed from it so that you can have less of the problems that you really don’t like.
2. Practice acceptance.
To accept things just the way they are. Without judging, expecting, or being anxious. To get back to the present moment, get rid of all past failures and worries about the future. And to simply focus on finding a solution to what’s wrong.
Wouldn’t life be easier if we all did it this way?
Unfortunately, that’s far from reality. But acceptance is what you need to practice in order to be able to respond peacefully to whatever happens in life. Thus give yourself time to think of a good solution and take better decisions.
When that problem is connected to another person whose actions we can’t influence, or if it’s a technology issue that can’t be fixed, we will also need to let go. It’s important to understand that things like that happen, but how we react to them is what defines us.
3. Get information.
There’s usually a research phase for me. When you’re faced with something, it’s key to know more about it. That’s part of the creative problem solving process I’ve described before.
If it’s not something that can be found online or is nearby, then ask people, or just dig deeper in your mind to find answers.
4. Leave what can wait for later.
To solve a problem, it takes attention to detail, patience, willpower, and more of these precious qualities and skills. So everything else that’s not urgent should be left behind.
Try to keep a positive attitude too. A negative one is only hurting your performance, and basically ruining your day.
What’s your take on life’s problems? How do you react when they show up when least expected?