A simple solution for all your problems

Choices Co Founder Anthony Charles shares a simple experiment to change your perspective on problems.

Anthony Charles Featured ImageEveryday life will give you opportunities to learn, change and grow and when problems arise, which they seem to do with devastating accuracy and incredibly poor timing; you can nearly always find a smart alec like me telling you to keep your chin up and that it could be worse.  It’s difficult to keep focused when it seems like all hell is breaking loose and being positive and solution orientated when the crap hits the proverbial fan can sometimes feel impossible.

I used to do an exercise with teams of volunteers at a mentoring program, whereby I would ask people to tell me about something positive that had happened to them in the last five days; out of a group of 30 odd people, only about 2 or 3 would raise their hand to contribute. The others struggled to find something and where only somewhat inspired after hearing from those who had already spoken.

I would then get the same people to take a small square of paper and write down either their biggest problem or something that was really troubling them.  They then folded the notes up, placing them in a small box that was passed around.  Once all the notes were in the box, one by one people would take a note out of the box, checking to see that they did not take their own note back; on the few occasions this happened, they would simply replace that note and choose another one.

Watching the look of shock, anguish and even terror on the face of each person who opened and read the contents of the note (someone else’s problem) was truly a sight to see.  Some people shook their heads in disbelief, scanning the room, wondering who on earth could be going through this problem that they were holding in their hands; some were even moved to tears.

Finally I would say; ‘looking at the problem you are now holding in your hand; who would like their own problem back’.  I can tell you that 99% and sometimes 100% of the attendees wanted their own problem back.

With this in mind, today I am incredibly grateful for life; I am grateful for the level of health that I have and the ability to positively affect it.  I am grateful for my mind, its strengths and its capacity.  And I am grateful for every challenge and problem that I face; not because I enjoy them, but because of the opportunities I have to creatively solve them; knowing that in the great scheme of things, my God, it could all be so much worse.

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