Way too often we get so tied up with everything bad that is going on in our lives and continue to enter into these conversation that are in conflict with what is going on. We invest all of our energy into the problem and almost no energy on the solutions to our problem.
This is a common habit that most of us get into at one point or another in our lives, or perhaps most of the time, as the case may be.
But a funny thing happens when you begin to shift that focus onto finding solutions to your problems, and that is, you start to find solutions to your problems.
If you have ever worked in the business arena, you may have experienced that it is commonplace for the managers of a company to get together on a regular basis and start working on setting targets (aims) and brainstorming all the different ways to reach this aim.
They spend a lot of time researching, talking, strategising and planning what they are going to do. You don’t see them setting up meetings so that they can sit around and complain about what isn’t happening and how they wished that the sales would increase and how their competitors aren’t letting them be the biggest industry in their field. What good would that do them? How productive would that be?
So why do we do this in our lives? Why do we think that we can just sit around and moan about the experiences we are having without using the same fundamental business principles of setting targets and achieving them?
Well in this week, this is exactly what we are going to start doing with your aims. There’s no point allowing yourself to get tied up in conversations that are in conflict with your present reality. It will just keep you stuck where you are.
It’s time to start shifting your attention to the ‘how to’ part of achieving the aims that you set last week.
To do this, you need to first start focussing on your aim. Continuing with your affirmations that you set last week is a great way to start because you are teaching your mind to think about what you want habitually.
However, affirmations are only the beginning of getting to your aim. This helps you to focus in on your aim. What happens next, is that because your attention is on what you want, your brain starts to automatically search for ways for you to get what you want.
Remember the analogy of buying your new car? You start to see your new car everywhere, right? That’s not because all of a sudden there are loads of your type of new car out on the road. It’s simply because this is where you have your attention focussed.
We’re going to use this same analogy this week for you to focus on your goals and start to notice all of the possible pathways that are available that will take you to your aims.
For example, let’s say that one of your aims is to get your child into a sleep routine. You are clear in your mind about the realities surrounding this aim (for example, I cannot control my child’s behaviour, my child is going through a developmental stage that will pass soon enough), however you want to find some sleep techniques that will accelerate this developmental stage and hopefully get you and your child a lot more sleep.
In the recent past, you may have been getting overwhelmed with your child’s crying, your inability to settle him/her, the amount of time that you are spending in the nursery instead of doing all the other chores that you are supposed to be doing etc, however this is not what we do in business. This kind of thinking is only going to lead to further stress and is in complete conflict with the reality of what is actually going on right now.
What you want to do is start to shift your focus, first to the reality of the situation (“this is a developmental stage”), then to your aim (“find a sleep routine that accelerates this developmental phase”) and now onto asking yourself ‘how am I going to do that?’
Ask yourself: Are there babies in the world that sleep well at the age that your child currently is? Did all of these babies learn to do this by themselves, or did their mothers have to find sleep routines that helped them? So if this is a possibility, is it also possible that there may be information out there that could help me? If other mothers have experienced the same thing that I am experiencing, then is it possible that I could learn off someone who has already been and done this? Where can I find this information.
The reality is that everybody experiences problems in their lives and everybody has overcome one problem or another in their life and have moved on. More often than not there will always be someone out there who has gone through your current challenge and has information that you can learn from. All you have to do is seek out that information. You can’t do this, if your attention is in conflict that this event is even happening and if you are wishing that it wasn’t all the time. Because the reality is that this event is occurring, so what are you going to do about it? Where are you going to get the information and the knowledge required to move through this challenge in your life.
Because remember, this event is not happening because you are useless, stupid or worthless. It is happening because sometimes we come across challenges in our lives. That’s it. We learn from these challenges by getting new information and applying it to our lives. Sometimes it takes us ages to get these lesson because we spend too much time focussing on the problem and not the solution.
In this program, and in particular, the final three steps of the Mind TRACK to Happiness process, I am encouraging you to accelerate the amount of time you spend having to experience challenges, by actively seeking out the information you need to move you out of this stage of your life quicker.
When using the example of getting your child into a sleep routine, it is easy to see that the solutions to this problem lie in books, advice from other mothers, parenting forums, internet, child health nurses and helplines etc and most of us would naturally gravitate towards this solution focussed thinking, because we are desparately trying to get more sleep!!
So in this case, it’s important to keep a level head about the situation while you are seeking and applying this new information. This is not happening because you are doing anything wrong. It is happening because you don’t have the information to deal with it yet and your child is going through a learning phase themselves. You are learning more about life through this challenge.
However, what about other issues. Would you actively seek out the information you need to improve your relationship if it were struggling? Would you actively try to learn how to communicate better, be more compassionate, how to negotiate and set goals for your relationship? Where would you find that information?
What about goals to overcome depression? Have you actively sought out all of the information and created a specific plan to overcome this too? There is more than one way to help you overcome depression. Have you tried all of them, or at least investigated all of your options?
The same applies to problems such as experiences of tantrums, money struggles, social issues, time management, troubles being organised, being able to show affection etc. Whatever your issue is, there is a solution that lies out there somewhere waiting to join the current information you hold about life.
All you need to do, is start searching for it – actively seeking out the information that you need to move you out of your current issue faster.
You see, no one knows all there is to know about life. We are all learning off each other because we all have different experiences that can benefit someone else and help them. In fact that is how our entire society works. Electricians spend years learn about electricity so that people will pay them to work on their homes. Child care workers train in learning how to work with children and have a wealth of knowledge about raising children, drug addicts get through their addictions and then volunteer to help other people get their lives together again. We are all sharing what we know with one another and all learning something too.
Choosing the right course of action
The reason why ‘Choices’ is the fourth step of the TRACK process, is because you are starting to focus on what choices, options and solutions you have for dealing with your problem and moving towards your solution.
The first part to getting towards your aim is to look at ‘how‘ you are going to get there. What are all the possibilities that you can find – the options you can find that you think will lead you to where you want to go. What techniques are out there that will help you to teach your child to sleep? What are other mums doing who are or have been faced with this problem?
Investigate all of the possibilities that you can find that will lead you in the direction of your aim and then list them all so that you can decide on which option you are going to choose. Later on in this week we are going to start having a look at why you would choose one option over another. As you know already, priority beliefs AT THE TIME are what dictate the decisions you make and the actions you take, so conscious consideration of what’s going on in your mind about each option is needed to be considered before making your final decision.
Where to start
Last week you wrote quite a few aims for yourself. You wrote situation aims (that is aims that will help you move out of your current issues), parenting aims for the kind of parent you would like to be, life aims that determined what sort of life you would like to lead and the experience you would like to enjoy, and finally your self-worth aims where you determined the kind of person you would like to be and that would make you feel good about yourself.
Now, that is quite a few goals, so you may be starting to feel a little overwhelmed now that we have got to the ‘how to’ part of achieving your aims.
Don’t worry, we are not going to go for all these goals at once. More often than not, you will find that a lot of the parenting aims, life aims (at least the general ones) and the self-worth aims will probably seem all that closer when you start to tackle some of your situation goals.
Remember that your bigger picture goals are ones that we continue to aspire to. When you achieve your smaller picture aims, often you learn a lot about yourself and your capabilities that naturally add to your knowledge of getting the bigger picture aims.
Sometimes the bigger picture aims are your situation aims. For example, being angry all the time at the kids, where as your bigger picture aim is to be a calm, loving natural parent. That’s okay, then work on this aim.
What you want to do first, is choose your top three aims that are causing you the most grief right now and work on them. If you can, choose one aim from each level of issue (for example a minor issue, a moderate issue and a major issue).
As we continue through this week, I am going to show you quite a few examples of how to research your options by actively seeking the information you need to move out of this issue, we’re going to explore in great detail all of these options and we’re going to look at the beliefs that drive you to choose one option over another.
For today though, just pick out your top three aims that you wish to go for right now and over the next 24 hours before your next lesson, begin contemplating some potential solutions/options and think about where you might find more information that will give you even more potential solutions/options that will lead you to your aim.