While the contractors have been working to interchange the siding on our new house final summer time, they found a termite infestation outdoors the rest room.
Further investigation revealed that the ground beneath the tub was not solely moist and damp, however had really utterly rotted. So, we employed anyone to restore the injury. On the first day he was right here, I went into the rest room barefoot. Oops. I stepped on a shard of glass tile. That splinter was caught in my foot for weeks.
At first, it didn’t actually have an effect on regular exercise. If I wore sneakers and socks, I barely felt it. But if I wore sandals, I acquired a pointy stabbing ache in the facet of my left foot. If I attempted to run, the identical factor occurred. And neglect about going to the gymnasium!
Now, the apparent response right here is, “Why didn’t you remove the sliver from your foot?” Great query!
On the very first night time, Kim did attempt to take away the sliver, and we thought she acquired it. But the subsequent morning after I took Tally for a stroll, I noticed the sliver was nonetheless there. But I didn’t do something about it. I lived with it for weeks, a continuing supply of low-grade irritation.
This, my associates, is an ideal instance of a few issues.
- First, it’s my household’s mentality in motion. For some silly silly motive, we Roths don’t like coping with medical points. When we’re sick, we endure for days (or weeks) earlier than going to a health care provider. When we’re damage, we simply suck it up. When I used to be younger, my mom sprained her ankle. She limped round for months earlier than looking for medical consideration. In faculty, I broke a finger taking part in contact soccer over Thanksgiving. I handled the intense ache till Christmas break, at which era I lastly determined to see a health care provider.
- Second, this an ideal instance of placing up with an issue as a substitute of discovering an answer. Most folks — myself included — are prepared to tolerate quite a lot of dissatisfaction and discomfort earlier than deciding to treatment no matter is incorrect of their lives. I’m unsure why that is the case, however it’s true.
With the glass shard in my foot, most of the time I barely observed. But generally the ache was particularly unhealthy. I bear in mind one morning whereas strolling the canine, it felt like anyone was stabbing me with a needle. “I just need to solve the problem,” I assumed to myself — and that jogged my memory of some sensible recommendation I as soon as acquired.
Just Solve the Problem
About a decade in the past, I labored with a life coach. Each week, we’d have an hour-long cellphone dialog about the methods I used to be making an attempt to turn out to be a greater individual. I made nice progress in some areas, however little progress in others.
One day, we have been speaking about my incapability to eat a wholesome breakfast. I’ve at all times been the form of man who is aware of he ought to eat a nutritious breakfast however doesn’t really achieve this. My coach had been encouraging me to make this a behavior in my life, however I saved complaining about all the causes it wasn’t doable. Eventually, she’d had sufficient.
“J.D., you’re being ridiculous,” my coach stated, exasperated. “This isn’t rocket science. Millions of individuals eat a wholesome breakfast every single day. You can too. You have to cease making excuses. You have to determine the downside and solve the downside. Just solve the downside!”
This recommendation hit me arduous: “Just solve the downside.” Obvious, I do know, however that doesn’t imply it’s not highly effective. I started to acknowledge that, in so some ways, I intentionally lived in the downside as a substitute of dwelling in the answer. I noticed that perhaps I may repair the issues that have been damaged in my life if I’d solely take the time to take action. (After all, I’d already made the decision to turn out to be a cash boss — and that had labored wonders with my monetary state of affairs!)
With breakfast, for example, the answer was to make it straightforward to have wholesome selections. For me, that meant stocking the fridge with egg whites and hen sausage. It meant studying to love yogurt. It additionally meant giving myself permission to spend a bit additional on pre-packaged fruit and — not kidding — breakfast steaks. (I used to be consuming paleo at the time, so a chunk of filet mignon was completely acceptable…if considerably costly.)
Related studying: A number of months in the past, there was a thread on Reddit discussing why folks select long-term inconvenience over short-term inconvenience: “I just spent at least 10 minutes undoing several screws using the end of a butter knife that was already in the same room, rather than go upstairs and get a proper screw driver for the job that would have made the job a lot easier and quicker.” And I spent weeks limping round with a sliver in my foot quite than have Kim spend 5 minutes taking it out.
How Do You Solve the Problem?
“Just solve the problem” is terrific recommendation that may be utilized to all points of life. For virtually a decade now, it’s been a mantra of mine. Admittedly, it’s a mantra that I generally neglect to repeat to myself. But after I do bear in mind to heed these phrases, they assist me get a hell of loads completed.
But simply how do you go about fixing the issues in your life? I consider there’s a six-step course of that you should utilize to deal with the belongings you’ve been neglecting for too lengthy:
- Recognize an issue exists. You must be aware that an issue is current earlier than you’ll be able to determine what that downside is. Sometimes that is simpler stated than completed. It’s straightforward to get complacent, to only settle for that that is “the way things are”. For occasion, you is perhaps sad along with your monetary state of affairs; you would possibly notice that one thing with the means you’re dealing with cash isn’t working.
- Identify the downside. After you’ve acknowledged that issues aren’t proper, ask your self why. What is the particular downside that’s resulting in your unhappiness? Is there multiple downside? Using the earlier instance, when you’ve realized you have to do one thing completely different along with your dollars, you would possibly discover that debt is dragging you down.
- Diagnose the supply of the downside. Next, attempt to determine why your downside exists. How did it begin? Why does it proceed? Why does it make you sad? With our monetary instance, you’d shortly uncover that your debt exists since you spend greater than you earn. But why do you spend greater than you earn? When did you begin doing this? Why do you proceed to take action?
- Brainstorm options. Now that you just’ve recognized the downside (and its supply), it’s time to determine how to make things better. This is the enjoyable half. Come up with a listing of how you’ll be able to overcome the downside that’s been holding you again. To get out of debt, for example, you would possibly take a two-pronged strategy: increase your revenue by taking a second job whereas additionally reducing again briefly on some non-essentials.
- Formulate a plan. Once you’ve provide you with an answer to your downside, make a plan to show these goals into actuality. How particularly are you going to implement your answer? What steps can you are taking at this time and tomorrow to solve the downside? If you’re making an attempt to trim your finances, you would possibly draft a prioritized checklist of locations you’ll be able to reduce your spending. Then you’ll be able to write down concrete steps to take towards every of those objectives.
- Take motion. The final step is the most necessary. To solve any downside, you should take motion. It doesn’t do any good to determine the downside, to brainstorm options, and to formulate a plan in case you’re not going to do the work essential to make issues proper. You’ll by no means get out of debt if all you do is inform your self you should spend much less. You should really spend much less with a purpose to remove the downside.
Here’s a technique I’m at present utilizing this “just solve the problem” methodology in my very own life.
As you could recall, Kim and I each packed on the kilos throughout our 15-month journey round the U.S. We’ve been house almost two years now, however we haven’t misplaced any weight. We’re each conscious that an issue exists: We’re uncomfortable with how we really feel.
Why are we fats? Why aren’t we match? What’s the supply of the downside? Well, alcohol is a giant wrongdoer. We drink far an excessive amount of beer and wine. In truth, I’d go as far as to say that all the additional weight that every of us is carrying comes from booze. The lack of health, nevertheless, is as a result of we acquired out of the behavior of exercising. When we first met, we each went to the gymnasium 5 instances per week. That’s dropped to zero instances per week. Yikes.
So, how can we solve the downside(s)? First, we are able to drink much less. Second, we are able to select more healthy meals. (Our diets aren’t horrible, however they aren’t nice both.) Third, we are able to search for methods to make train occur as a substitute of arising with causes that it may’t.
Now that we now have some options, we are able to develop a plan to place them into motion. Kim just lately spent a few weeks doing a medically-supervised water quick to reset her system. When I return from this highway journey, I’m going to make health my prime precedence. (Sorry, GRS. You’ll drop to quantity two.) I’m going to return to my trusty “paleo-ish diet”, decide to biking every single day, and do what I can to keep away from alcohol.
The Bottom Line
I’ve a horrible tendency to overthink issues. I make them extra sophisticated than they must be. That was actually the case again when my life coach was making an attempt to show me the right way to eat a wholesome breakfast. I imply, how arduous is it to tug a yogurt from the fridge?
I get annoyed when folks provide you with causes that one thing can’t be completed as a substitute of pondering of how it can be completed. Yet I’m responsible of the identical factor after I fall into the entice of overthinking the issues in my life.
Taking my foot for instance, I used all of the following as causes not to take away the sliver:
- “Oh, the contractors are still here. We should wait until they leave before we remove the splinter.” (But, in fact, by the time they’d left I’d forgotten about it.)
- “Oh, my feet are dirty right now. We should wait until I’ve had a chance to clean them.”
- “Oh, Kim just got home from work. I should give her a chance to rest before I ask her to remove the splinter.” (But, in fact, I’d neglect to ask her to assist me later.)
- “Oh, we’re about to leave. It’d be inconvenient to take the time to get the splinter out now. We should do it when we get home.”
- “Oh, I’m tired. We should just go to bed. We can always remove the splinter in the morning.”
Looking again, it’s clear to me that these have been lame excuses. I’d provide you with causes not to take away the sliver of glass as a substitute of searching for a chance to get it completed.
Eventually, I acknowledged how silly I used to be being. Kim and I sat down one night time and she or he spent 45 minutes trying to find the splinter in my foot. And you understand what? As quickly as she pulled it out, every little thing felt so a lot better. Hard to consider such a tiny splinter may trigger a lot ache. And arduous to consider I’m so cussed and silly that I’d stay with that ache for a few weeks as a substitute of merely fixing the downside.