I’ve really been thinking about that article I linked y’all to on Monday, the one about copying success rather than solving problems. It was really sticky in the sense that it has stayed with me since I read it, the concept strange enough that I keep turning it over in my head like a raccoon with something shiny.
I am a problem solver. A troubleshooter. You give me an issue and I will use the power of my logic to help blast through and develop A Plan. This is actually a terrible quality in a therapist if she’s not good at turning that instinct off–which is why I teach and research instead. I had a really hard time not listening to my former clients and immediately wanting to tell them what they were doing wrong and how to fix it, because it was OBVIOUS. But I digress.
I am absolutely one of those people who takes a problem and intuits the solution, often skipping the steps in between to get to the end game of This Is What Must Be Done. But sometimes What Must Be Done isn’t easy. Sometimes it isn’t even possible. Which is frustrating. And that’s why I’m so fascinated by this article. It’s a whole other way of thinking, one that takes into account those middle steps I tend to skip right over.
Instead of being all problem focused, this proposes looking at the things that are actually working. The successes despite the problem. Figure out what those are and see how you can duplicate them. And even if you can’t figure out how to duplicate them, sometimes seeing the success is enough to tip the scales. Literally in some cases.
For example, my weight loss and fitness efforts are something I’ve struggled with my whole life. I’ve been in a yo yo for years gaining and losing the same ten pounds. Now it’s easy to look at a gain and say “Okay, I need to eat less and exercise more” and then use a zillion online calculators to find the “right” number of calories for intake and output based on my resting metabolic rate and this or that weight loss program. And if the results don’t come or come fast enough, I used to feel like that was a failure.
But taking this new way of thinking, I look at my current set up where I am losing a pound every two weeks, and that’s a loss. No matter the rate, that is a success. I’m doing it at a calorie intake level that doesn’t leave me starving or feeling denied and crazy. Another success (a big one, as that’s what usually sends me on a trip on the crazy train). I’m running farther and faster. Another success. Progress is being made, just not quite the progress I was looking for.
Same with the writing. I haven’t published as much as I wanted, but I have still increased my word count each year, despite life crap and evil day job interference. I’ve pushed my limits as a writer both on a production level and on a quality level. Everything I write is better than the last thing. These are all successes. Just not quite the successes I was looking for. Or rather, not the RATE I was looking for.
I am a really freaking impatient person. It’s something I’m working on.
Anyway, what in your life could you apply this idea to? This looking to success to duplicate instead of being problem-centric? I’m really fascinated by seeing how people can turn around what they think because of this change in focus and attitude.