The Art (and Science) of Solution Focused Living


Problems. We’ve all got them.

In all areas of life – business, relationships, finances, health, and so on.

No one is immune.

It’s common to focus on problems, which can lead you down a negative spiral faster than an army of ants at a picnic; the kind of ANTs that suddenly seem to hi-jack your brain.

But is it really useful to focus on the problems? We’re human beings not machines, which leaves me questioning this obsession with problems and fixing ourselves.

“I do not fix problems. I fix my thinking. Then problems fix themselves.” – Louise L. Hay

Question: What Is Problem-Solving?

Answer: Problem-solving is a mental process that involves discovering, analyzing and solving problems. The ultimate goal of problem-solving is to overcome obstacles and find a solution that best resolves the issue.

Yes, problem solving is a mental process. . .that keeps you in your head analyzing!

Over and over, same problem, multiple angles, round and round until it feels like you’re deeper than ever, mired in the problem.

Yes, the intention is to get to the solution, but think about it. . .

How often has it really worked vs. how often has it kept you stuck?

“Anxiety and fear produce energy. Where we focus that energy noticeably affects the quality of our lives: focus on the solution, not the problem.” – Walter Anderson

It’s much more uncommon (and useful) to view life through a solution focused lens.

Sometimes I startle clients when I tell them I don’t care about the problem. And it’s true, I don’t. . .I care about what they want, and as soon as I can get them back to thinking about that, the sooner they feel resourceful.

You might think it’s semantics, but it’s not. It’s an energetic shift. It just feels better to focus on what you want from a solution focused view of life.

So what do you want?

It takes practice to answer that question. It takes interrupting your focus on what you don’t want. And it takes a bit of digging, an excavation of your true desires.

You don’t hear that very often in conversation, do you?

And it’s not because you don’t know what your true desires are. It’s because you’ve not been encouraged to acknowledge, and then say what you want.

But your speaking creates your reality, so you can’t ignore this any longer. Start saying what you want in life.

It might be hard. People might not like it. You might be disappointed.

So what?

You don’t have what you want now, what have you got to lose? 

It’s a lifelong pattern of thinking and doing, but with practice and a commitment to going beyond your comfort zone, you can break the pattern and create a solution focused perspective on life.

Those negative thoughts and problem-solving obsession? That’s normal.

What’s not normal is pulling yourself away from the compulsion to fix what’s not really broken.

You have to learn to ask yourself the right kind of questions and then, ask them often. More on those questions in a future post, but for now just get the truth in this. . .

“What we pay attention to, and how we pay attention, determines the content and quality of life.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi


Word Carnivals monthly blogging event

This post is part of the monthly Word Carnivals, a round-up of small-biz bloggers writing on a common theme. This month’s theme: The Art And Science of Solving Small Business Problems.