This is an excerpt from the book I am writing called, “Living Your Purposeful Life”.

It is getting close to the end of 2013 and as everybody starts looking at the new year, many of you start working on your resolutions for next year. I have long stopped creating resolutions for the new year, because I wonder why not just create your resolutions as you need to? Why not ask yourself throughout the year, “what are you trying to create in your life?” and when you get an answer, then start working towards what you are trying to create.

Recently, I was talking to a friend of mine and we started getting into a discussion about what we are trying to create and it was very interesting that I was trying to create a perfect life. She then asked what was a perfect life and I said it was a life without problems. She paused and thought about that for a while and then said, “But you thrive on problems.” She said that I do my best work when I have a problem to work on and living my perfect life, I would be bored.

I took a step back and had to think about what she had said and then realized that, yes, I do do my best work when I am working on a problem, and I have to admit, that I do feel stress when a problem comes up, because in my perfect world, there would be no problems, and problems are a sign that I have failed to create a perfect world.

What a conundrum, on one hand, I want a perfect world, and on the other hand, I like to work on problems. How can the two exist? What is preventing me from owning that I am a problem solving and that is what I do best? I guess that I have always known that I am a problem solver, but on the other hand, I guess that I thought that I would run out of work at some point in my life.

As I look at this view of problems, I look at it as if being successful is a destination, something you accomplish and then you are done, but life does not work that way. For example, look at sports. In sports, each year there is a championship and a champion is crowned, and they celebrate, but as soon as the next season starts, the champion becomes the defending champion and the work begins to crown the new champion.

It is the same with success. You can be successful one day, but the next day, you may not be successful. Does one make you a champion and the other a failure? That depends on how you are measuring yourself. In my life, who really cares if I solve a problem or not? Ok, my boss will care, over time, if I am not successful in solving problems, because that is what he is paying me for, but if I solve the problem today or tomorrow, does he really care? I am the one putting pressure on myself to solve the problem now and not later and I am the one labeling myself as not successful for not solving the problem now and I am the one labeling myself not successful for having the problem in the first place.

So, the real problem is how that I measure myself and of all the issues with problems, my problem is believing that I am a failure for having a problem in the first place. As I am looking at this issue, I feel a bit entangled in my thought process. First, I am creating my reality, so I created the problem so that I could work on it. Second, if I am creating my reality, why am I creating problems? Sorry, after writing these two statements, I have to laugh at myself and as I am laughing I am realizing that I am creating the problems to give me something to do, something to experience, and I should be embracing the problems and seeing what there is for me to learn in the process of solving the problem and here is what I can do to embrace the problem.

  • Pause, breath, and bring myself into the present moment.

    • Sometimes when I get a problem, I start worrying about all the domino effect of me not solving the problem. I start worrying about what will people think of me for having “this problem”.

  • Ask myself a series of questions:

    • Do I know how to solve the problem right now?

    • Do I need to solve this problem? If not, who can I give this problem to?

    • Do I need to solve this problem right now?

    • What action do I need to take right now?

    • Can I solve this problem on my own? If not, who do I need to ask for help and what help do I need from them?

    • Is there more information that I need?

      • This is a question that I usually overlook. I sometimes jump in to solve a problem before I understand what the problem is and solve the wrong problem.

    • Who do I need to communicate to about the status of the problem?

    • Who do I need to communicate to about the problem?

      • This is different than the previous question as this is usually the people affected by the problem versus wanting to know that status of the problem.

I know that I have gone a bit off topic on the world that you are trying to create, but in my world, I create problems for me to experience and solve. Are you doing the same thing? Are you creating problems for your experience in this lifetime? Do you own your creation or are you just living your life? You do create your reality, look at it honestly with wonder and see what you are creating. There is nothing wrong or right with it. Once you understand what you are creating, you have the power to change what you are creating. Whether you decide to change your reality, or live the one that you have, embrace it! Know this is your reality and you have the power to change it.

Take some time and really feel into what you are creating, take inventory of what you like in your reality and what you do not. Look at your likes and dislikes and ask yourself, if you change anything on your lists, what would your world look like? In my reality, if I eliminate problems, I would be bored. So, is there something on your dislikes list that makes your life worth living? May be you have a child that acts out and you do not like that. Well, may be the “acting out” is giving you a chance to be a better parent, a better person, a better communicator, something better than you are today and once you are better, the acting out will stop.

You created your reality, you can change it, and if you need help, there are plenty of people who can help you. Go through your lists with somebody who can help you and give you honest feedback on your lists.

Best of luck and let me know how I can support you.