My 12 year old daughters problem solving skills never cease to amaze me.
She is currently experiencing a blocked nose and is feeling frustrated that it is stopping her from tasting her food. She loves her food and has a very sweet tooth, so a blocked nose is a bit of a nuisance!
She had tried several things to unblock her nose and get her taste back but had been unsuccessful. As a 12 year old who doesn’t give up very easily she was determined to find a way. I was sat reading my book when she appeared at the doorway with a garlic bud half way up her nose! As I looked in horror at the lengths she would go to in order to unblock her nose, she smiled and said ‘well that worked I have an unblocked nose and I can now taste!
There is a reason I am telling you this story even though it might sound a bit strange!
It got me thinking about how we often get stuck in life doing the same thing over and over expecting to get different results. Unlike my 12 year old daughter who tried at least half a dozen ways to unblock her nose, we often continue doing the same thing hoping to get the result we want. The famous Einstein quote springs to mind, ‘ Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result . We often repeat the same habits that keep us in the same place. We hope that miraculously something will change and then feel frustrated when it doesn’t!
😩 You might want to get healthy but you continue to eat the same unhealthy foods.
😩 You might want to feel calmer and less stressed but you continue to focus on the stuff that makes you feel stressed.
😩 You might want to get more organised but continue to procrastinate and put things off.
You see nothing changes, if NOTHING changes. No judgment over here, guilty as charged!
So what can we learn from the problem solving skills of a 12 year old and the sheer determination to get the result you want!
- Do something different – If what you are doing isn’t getting you the results you want, then do something different. If you continue doing the SAME thing, you will get the SAME results. A problem can’t be solved at the same level that it was created. There are so many possibilities and options available to us but because we are creatures of habit we get stuck in a rut. We think the same things day after day and repeat the same behaviours. We can end up on auto pilot just existing rather than consciously choosing how we want to live our life.
- Break the mould – Interrupt the thinking or behaviour patterns that you are doing that are stopping you achieving what you want. For example if you are wanting to be calmer but you are finding yourself anxious and stressed, then do the 5,4,3,2,1 grounding technique or take a long exhale breathe out to interrupt the pattern of automatic behaviour that you are in.
- Choice – Give yourself 3 alternative ways (there is power in the number 3), of achieving what you want. So if you want to get more organised then you could 1)🌟 set your alarm 10 minutes earlier and do one task. 2) 🌟 Write down the top 3 things you are going to get done that day and complete them 3) 🌟Achievement of something is in the doing so decide consciously each day what it is that you will do and do it. It doesn’t matter how small it is, the result is in the doing.
The key is to keep it successfully simple.
Your brain loves routine and habit and it wants to find the quickest route to solve your problems which is why we create habits. Unfortunately these habits can often keep us stuck in thinking and behaviour patterns that aren’t helpful.
So remember if you want to have something different in your life then a willingness to do something different is the key. And no I am definitely not recommending that you put a garlic bud up your nose to unblock it, BUT I am inviting you to consider what it is that you want to achieve or change, and what you can do to move towards making it happen.
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My daily mantra is to keep it successfully simple. We can all make simple changes in our life and it’s the small changes that often add up to the biggest results.