So I was chatting with a good friend of mine recently, we were at his daughters birthday party and he and his family were in the middle of moving house, his wife had recently decided to work freelance and he had no idea what he was going to do for work once their house move was complete. This would be enough to send most people in to a spiral of panic.
He was a picture of calm in telling me all this though. Not concerned about the fact that he didn’t know where his next pay check was coming from. Excited at the thought of getting to spend more time with his kids. He had problems coming out of his ears but he wasn’t letting them get the better of him. Why do you think this is?
Let’s rewind a few years first and see what problems he had back then. He was a successful and high flying engineer working for one of the most prestigious consultancies in the country. He was swamped with work, was left unfulfilled by what work he was doing and struggled with personal issues as a result.
What’s the difference between who he was back then and who he is today? In both cases he was, like the rest of us, up to his eyeballs in problems. The difference is a simple one, back then his problems were negatively impacting his life and his happiness, whereas now he has swapped those problems for ones that he has chosen.
This is something that many of us don’t realise is even possible. We will always have problems in our lives, no one gets a free pass. The key to being happy is ensuring that your problems are ones that you choose and that you want to solve. Ones that you love to solve, even.
Personally, I have chosen to solve the problem of brining in enough money to sustain my family every month. I have chosen to take on the problems that come with raising young children. I have chosen to tackle the problem of finding meaning in ones life. I wake up each day ready to face these problems because I chose them.
If your problem is that you’re struggling for motivation at work, perhaps you could swap this for the problem of starting out on a new path? If your problem is that your partner isn’t giving you what you need, maybe instead have a potentially problematic conversation with them and be ready for other problems like what the hell do people do on first dates these days and which pictures should you put on your Tinder profile?
You don’t necessarily need to be trapped by your problems but at the same time you’re not getting through the rest of your life problem-free. Realising and accepting these things will prepare you to be able to consider things and choose which problems you want to deal with. And that, my friends, is a big step forward for anyone.