Maaher Sayeed

Blogger / Writer,

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Using your life obstacles to formulate solutions to your life challenges

If your friend or a loved one asked to help them solve a problem you are more likely to find a solution much faster than if you were to face the same problem yourself. You approach the problem as a challenge with rational thinking sans emotions and draw your wisdom learned from your own life obstacles to formulate a viable solution. Why are solutions to others’ problems clearer to you than your own? I have learned these 3 simple lessons on overcoming life obstacles and moving forward:
1)No Escape: Life will throw you your share of curve balls all the time. But it is in your choice and reaction that you can either get hit by it smack on your face, miss it or lean into it and whack the hell out of it. There is no escape from these curve balls. Every single person, rich or poor, successful or struggling, young or old, regardless of their social status, economic conditions, age, gender or education, will face their share of adversities in life. But how we choose to react to them, tackle them, solve them or dodge them lies absolutely in our choice and reaction.
2)Do not waste your time: Life is too short to waste your time on insensible living. Our life wasted on holding prejudices, hate, egoistic living, sense of self entitlement, vanity, dwelling in self sympathy, narcissism, arrogance, and above all deliberate ignorance of facts and realities soon brings you to a time and situation in your life where you feel you have done absolutely nothing worthwhile. Cut the emotions, be rational and work towards a solution. Forgive, discuss a solution, give up hate, be humble, put your arrogance and ego aside.
3)Realize your blessings: a) – The natural ones that you have been blessed with. i.e. your family, siblings, parents, home, good health, support, love, courage, and comfort they offer. b) – the ropes of blessings that you yourself weave for times like these . i.e. your good deeds in life, the friends you choose, your education, your efforts on self improvement and wisdom.

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    Dec 3 2012: "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein
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    Lejan .

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    Nov 29 2012: 'Why are solutions to others’ problems clearer to you than your own?'

    Because in those cases I do not have to follow my own advice!

    It is the same with each 'calendar motto'. They all are brilliant, sublime and wise. And woe betide anyone who does try to apply them in their daily lifes! As most likely they are doomed to fail.

    How many people could you really help with your wisdom? My personal count is ZERO.

    There is a whole industry of 'counselling literature' out there pumping their problem solving strategies to those 'in need', yet non of them I know who read those books - me included - ever had this 'Eureka!' moment and struggled further over some time.

    What I found working best with friends is just 'to be there' whenever needed. Usually people don't seek for any advice, they like to talk about what troubles them and to find confirmation in what they are feeling. Subconsciously they are already 'working' on their own solution and they are the experts for themselves anyway. Life challenges are easier to face with good and reliable company and as a friend this is all we can offer to others.

    Pathological causes are a different issue all together and should be treated by professional care.

    Anything else will be solved sooner or later within a process of time and step by step accomplishment. And to have someone to talk to usually helps a lot.
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      Dec 4 2012: Hi Lejan,

      I am totally wiht you on just being there for a freind when they need you. Be a sounding board, a moral support, or just a shoulder to lean on. That in itself if lot more useful than offering unsolicited advice.

      But I hear you on the "calendar motto" and "counselling literature" and beg to differ as I have seen several people being considerably infulenced by these. A simple quote often invokes an idea or a different point of view that inspires. I have personally been inspired by such quotes, literature, and often real life experiences of others and mine.

      The solution to others' problems being clear is without the need to advice. We often tend to see others problems objectively without being clouded by emotions. Yes, it is easy to advice and even more convenient to dump our opinions on others regardless of them seeking it or not.

      I believe that we often react negatively to life obstacles and challenges. There are several reasons to such a reaction. But facing them with courage, looking at these challenges as our unique chance to develop a solution and not being bitter about life is the only way out of it than to crumble and crash.
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    Nov 28 2012: Maaher,
    I agree with your main idea that we can use OUR life obstacles to formulate solutions to OUR life challenges. I agree that there is no escape from the curve balls life may throw at us, and how we choose to act/react is a choice. I wholeheartedly agree that life is too short to spend time holding prejudices, hate, egoistic living, sense of self entitlement, vanity, dwelling in self sympathy, narcissism, arrogance, and ignorance. I also agree that finding solutions, discussions, giving up hate and arrogance and experiencing humility are all important. I think/feel gratitude is very beneficial, as you insightfully point out.

    I do NOT agree that we are more likely to find a solution much faster for someone else. As you say, we may "approach the problem as a challenge with rational thinking sans emotions and draw your wisdom learned from your own life obstacles to formulate a viable solution".

    We may draw from OUR OWN life experiences, which probably are different from everyone elses life experiences. Would you deny a person the opportunity to draw from their own experiences to find their own solutions? Our answers ARE NOT more clear for another person, and that is one inaccurate peice of information that sometimes causes people to want to control and dominate other people.

    You know the old saying....give a man a fish and he eats for the day....give him a fishing pole, and he can continue to eat every day? Well, when we try to solve challenges for other people, we may help provide a solution for that particular challenge, AND we deny that person the opportunity to learn the process by which we solve challenges.....you see?

    We can provide information, guide others, offer our own experiences as examples, offer our thoughts, feelings, ideas, etc., AND it is much more beneficial for everyone to encourage each and every person to find their own answers.
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      Nov 28 2012: Hi Coleen, Thanks for your input. Very much appreciated. I see and totally agree on your point and what Pat is indicating to regarding our approach towards solving other peoples problems. I an all in with the "teach the man to fish..." rather than give him a fish.

      My objective was to indicate the attitude we take towards solving other peoples problems is often more positive, clear, rational and objective than addressing our own. Hence the reference.....
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        Nov 28 2012: Hi Maaher, thanks for your reply:>)

        I think I understand your objective, and I agree with you that, without direct involvement in the emotions of the situation, we can sometimes perceive things differently than the person who is feeling emotional about their challenge. This allows us to maybe be more clear about the possibilities for resolution.

        I don't believe we can actually solve other people's problems, and quite frankly, I do not want to try to do so, because I LOVE to see people solve their own challenges:>) We are, however, like mirrors to each other, reflecting information back and forth all the time, so we can make sure OUR mirror is clear, so that our reflections can contribute to resolution for ourselves and perhaps others:>)
    • Dec 10 2012: "...act/react is a choice..."
      I just had a thought that may argue against that; as we feel less and less powerful, effectual, or meaningful, we lose sight of our choices, and eventually the abilities to choose. Choices become rote, subconscious, automatic; the very thought of choice becomes a sword aimed at us - shame, mockery, fear.

      "...life is too short to spend time holding prejudices, hate..."
      Unless those things are our shield. Is it truly safe to risk? It's all a risk. But rewards may be few or invisible.
      It is the strong who must care for the weak, and build safe spaces

      I do think it's better than "rational thinking, " but I'm having different thoughts on "find[ing] a solution much faster for someone else."
      We may gain an outside perspective on someone else's problems, but I think that will only be relevant after we sit down & STHU (for a long time) and be THERE where they are, and learn their personal language, and always value where they are instead of where they need to be. {just my philos}

      I agree, we deny people to opportunity to struggle and learn. We always want our results - good results now.
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        Dec 10 2012: Hi Steve,
        Is what you write "against" the idea of "act/react is a choice", or does it reinforce the idea? It seems to reinforce it for me.

        I agree that as one feels less powerful s/he may lose sight of his/her choices, and eventually the ability to choose. Then choices become rote, subconscious, automatic, and all of these thoughts/feelings/actions/reactions come from fear, as you insightfully recognize. Fear may get in the way of recognizing our choices.....again as you insightfully recognize. We may still have choices, and we give up the opportunity to recognize and make our own choices because of fear? I agree with that. Then, sometimes, NOT making our own choices becomes a regular pattern or practice?

        I believe that those who do not make good life choices for themselves may sometimes be "stuck" in this cycle, or pattern. That is why I recommend encouraging and supporting people in making their own choices....being genuinely empowered to do so. You mention "risk", and I agee that one needs to be willing to take the risk to step out of a pattern of thoughs/feeling/behaviors. I agree that we need to "build safe spaces" for all people to learn, grow and evolve with genuine empowerment in them and ourselves.

        I totally agree that it helps to value where they/we are at any given time, and that is how we move on to something different. If we focus on where we/they "need to be", rather than where we/they are, we miss the opportunity of the moment. It has been helpful in my life practice, to "BE" in the moment recognizing all "parts" of the scenario. I can then move on with new information.

        "Good results" is subjective....is it not? If our perception and expectation of "good results" has certain criteria, we sometimes miss a different opportunity that may be more beneficial to ourselves and the whole:>)
        • Dec 11 2012: Hi Colleen.
          ...against the idea of act/react is a choice...
          It sure feels good to hear and think that we have power and control in our lives, but I'm thinking we have even less than we think or hope. We want to think we know the best, make the best choices, have free will, but I've seen enough psychology studies to begin unraveling my own grip & relax my mind and look & listen.
          Maybe it CAN be; IF you are confident enough TO choose & risk more than a pittance of the things you can risk.

          "Then, sometimes, NOT making our own choices becomes a regular pattern or practice?"
          Yes, and perhaps this is where the most danger lies! This is where we doubt ourselves - isn't doubt, like Moliere said, "more cruel than the worst of truth"?

          "...those who do not make good life choices..." I think people make the best possible decision based on each present belief, knowledge & foresight; maybe that's an obvious theory, but I heard it said by someone who sounded smart at about the same time I first thought it. And I think I'd like to hear more about it.
          "...encouraging and supporting people in making their own choices..." How can we see beyond the walls our own minds have built?
          "... care for the weak, and build safe spaces ..." I was going to remove that unruminated bit or retool it. "Mistakes were made, by me." I guess I was leaning toward saying that the strong are those who sacrifice the great heights they may reach by or for themselves in place of raising many others a little.
          I don't see a lot of real risk these days!

          "It has been helpful in my life practice, to "BE" in the moment..."
          Yes, I think that any movement is much more natural (and better) if the focus is not changing, but being (and valuing) as they are.

          Waiting for "good results" we blind ourselves to benefits we won't or can't see (or, again, "fear" to see)

          Thank you for expanding on my ideas. It helps to see it in another's words.
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        Dec 11 2012: Hi again Steve,
        Expanding and building on ideas is truly enjoyable for me...thank you for the opportunity as well:>)

        I agree...we have some power and contol in our lives and we CAN get a "grip", as you say, relax and truly look and listen....be mindfully aware in the moment. In my perception, the "risky" part, is stepping out of an old pattern.

        I agree that we make the choices we are capable of making at any given moment, based on information we have. When I speak of choices that are not so good, I'm thinking of how many times people repeat the same pattern over and over again and they KNOW it is not a good choice....they KNOW they would prefer to do something different, and cannot take that step out of the pattern.
        We see and hear this all the time from smokers, addicts, people in abusive relationships, etc.

        Yes, I believe doubting ourselves gets in the way of moving forward. There is another balance....it is good to question ourselves because that is how we get new information. If the questioning moves to doubt, however, it changes the dynamic of the exploration...don't you think?

        You ask..."How can we see beyond the walls our own minds have built"? I suggest that usually letting go of the idea that we have all the answers...letting go of our need to control or dominate others....letting go of trying to force onto someone else what we think is "right"....

        We see people often saying they want us to follow THEIR direction because they are happy/content with the thought/feeling/behavior, so they want to help us be happy....they want to convert us to their religion because they care about us....they want us to agree with them on political issues because they think we are ignorant/uninformed. THEY try to convince us (and themselves) that THEIR way is the best, "right" way because they care about us. When people genuinely care about each other, they allow and encourage people to evolve in themselves and let go of trying to force their own agenda.
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        Dec 11 2012: Steve...
        Regarding your statement...
        "care for the weak, and build safe spaces... I guess I was leaning toward saying that the strong are those who sacrifice the great heights they may reach by or for themselves in place of raising many others a little."

        I perceive a choice between caring for the weak and building safe spaces "IN PLACE OF" reaching great heights in oneself. Another choice is, caring for the weak AND reaching great heights in oneself. Perhaps it depends on what our perception of "great heights" is?

        To me, people who are genuinely, authentically caring for others are "raising" themselves to greater heights, AS WELL AS bringing others with them. I perceive this to have a lot to do with one's intention. Are we trying to "raise" ourselves at the expence of others? Or are we genuinely recognizing the interconnectedness of the whole, with an intent to raise ourselves AND others? And that does NOT mean bringing them into our religious, political, or other worldviews. In my perception, it means encouraging and supporting people in THEIR OWN quest to experience life, when/if it is not detrimental to others.
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    Nov 28 2012: I like the 3 lessons. It is true we cannot escape stuff happening but it all depends on how we choose to look at them and to use turn them all around for our good. We should not waste time coz we dont have all the time here. We are here for a period of time and we must stive to accomplish as much as we can during the period. The last one is for me most important. We always look for blessing without appreciating the blessings we already have so around us. That was really insightful
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    Nov 29 2012: It is not about what happens to us, but our response to such happenings.
    This is usually said and believed; and it may be the truth.
    Words are easy to say and theories easy to propound. These things are easier said than done; but some people say it and do it and get positive results.
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      Dec 4 2012: Absolutely right. Infact many do it and choose to respond positively. Life often is a result of our responses to the things that happen to us.
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      Dec 10 2012: Feyisayo and Maaher,
      I wholeheartedly agree:

      "Your life is not what happens to you...
      It's what you make of what happens to you!"
      (Dr. Paul Pearsall, Ph.D)

      I also agree with Louis's/Einstein's statement: "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them"

      That being said Feyisayo, I suggest getting rid of the idea that "These things are easier said than done".
      If we believe it to be difficult, that is the reality we create for ourselves. If we perceive this idea as a natural, "normal" practice, that is the reality we create for ourselves.

      I am very lucky to have had a mom who demonstrated in every single moment of her life, the idea that from lemons, we can make lemonade. It's really NOT difficult, and FIRST one needs to embrace the idea and practice.
  • Nov 27 2012: Fully agree, we are in charge as to how we react to life.

    I also think that being on the river of Life means knowing about water, and how to swim, is a given.
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    Nov 27 2012: This is the definition of life? I would recommend against solving other people's problems as it is a matter of who owns the problems and the people get quite irritated if you try and take their problems away from them.
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      Nov 28 2012: Hi Pat, I mentioned ..."If your friend or a loved one asked to help them solve a problem ..." I do not recommend offering unsolicited advice either...but people do ask for help.
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        Nov 28 2012: I hear you but this is thin ice, people want to convince you how big their problems are how unsolvable they are, and you come along and arrogantly fix the problem, how dare you. I think the better way to deal with this is to ask the question, what can you do about that.

        I have listed to endless babble about the "daunting problem" and listened to many people say well ah you could do this or that all the while the problem haver states that won't solve it because..., all the while becoming more irate. I simply ask ok so what can you do about that, they then state all of the things suggested and are done talking about it.

        If you don't believe me try this the next time someone want you to "help" them.
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          Nov 28 2012: Yes people can device their own solutions and often it merely takes a few pointers to invoke their own thinking to solve their own problem. Thats exactly the point of my this conversation. The idea is to solve your own problems by facing a few facts as opposed to getting bogged down by emotions ..... If you read the complete text you will see my point...
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        Nov 28 2012: I read it again and saw your point again?

        My point is that the person decides to the be the problem or to be the solution. The question of "what can you do about that" places them at the solution perspective.