During July I’ve been writing about the difference between worries and real problems, about taking worries and turning them into concrete dilemmas in order to conquer them.
Here’s a concrete on how I learned the power of transforming a worry into a problem.
Six years ago in the middle of a stressful, horrible summer, I posted a single, joyful thing to my Facebook timeline:
“Watching the cat run through the house and try to turn a quick corner on hardwood floors.”
The next day I did the same, again and again, until it was a whole week of joyful moments. Then it was a month.
#ThisDaysJoy sort of fell into place as an idea.
At first, I was fine. It was summertime, and there was an abundance of low-hanging joyous fruit to choose from — zinnias & butterflies, rainbows & sunsets, fresh peaches & cream.
Pretty soon, without even trying, I realized I was on a streak.
YAY! (Writers really love productive streaks!)
Until THE day.
The inevitable bad day when –meh –not really feeling the joy.
My internal clock ticked off the minutes.
Nope. Nothing. No joy in Mudville.
Worry knocked on the door, and my streak was in serious jeopardy.
I heard worry scoff and say, “Did you really think you could find something joyful in every day?”
And then, in a moment of utter clarity, a flash of understanding when everything became crystal clear, I said to myself, “You know what your problem is: you need to find something joyful in this day.”
And the solution was right there, too: find something joyful in this day.
Holy smokes! In the blink of an eye I realized, I didn’t have a worry, I had a problem…and I also had a solution!
A lot of times problems come bearing their very own gifts, and the solution is wrapped up in the problem itself. Identifying the problem is the first, most important step to solving it.
Worry: I worried this quilt I’m working on as a gift won’t turn out right.
Problem: I can’t figure out how to get my points to match up on this quilt block.
Solution: Figure out how to get my points to match up on this quilt block.
See! The solution is hidden in plain sight — right there in the problem.
When you worry, try to identify the problem at the root of the worry.
Also, keep in mind the fact that worries are vague, while problems are specific. So be as specific as possible about the problem.
Then examine the language of the problem itself…the solution might just be staring you right in the face.