We tend to focus on problems, after all, we are problem solvers aren’t we? The ability to quickly identify problems allows us the opportunity to fix them and move on into success, but focusing on problems instead of solutions will actually encumber our progress through our lives. Identifying a problem with the overwhelming intention to find a solution to the problem is a quality of a highly successful person, but dwelling on problems and allowing them to overwhelm us with indecision will hinder even the most ambitious person.
What we should strive for is to reach a place of relentless solution focus; The concept of solution focus is a keystone of the book “10 minute mental toughness”. When I first read this book I was not at a point of sufficient faith in myself to recognize some of the stronger ideas and concepts presented here, but after the second read through this idea is worth its weight in gold on its own.
Relentless solution focus is composed of several ideas and concepts. First, that when problems arise we should search for solutions and avoid thinking of the problems. Second, we must ask ourselves, “what can I do to make this problem better right now?”, if we can’t think of a solution, then we must think deeper to find a solution, and if we still cannot think of a solution, then we must realise that perhaps its out of our control and we must let it go. Third, we must commit to immediately finding solutions to all negative thoughts; when we think a thought like, “I am not a good public speaker”, we are identifying a problem. Most of us would stop here and dwell on the problem, and it would affect our self esteem and we would feel bad about ourselves. If instead we focus immediately on a solution, “What can I do to become better?” or “What weaknesses in my speaking skills can I improve or identify right now?”, then we have shifted our problem into an opportunity to improve. Not only does a relentless solution focus cause us to feel better, become more effective, but it also gives us precious opportunities at self improvement.
The gauge of our lives is not ultimately what we do or how far we get into our success; life isn’t a race against everyone else, but instead is more like a staircase that ascends up in front of us. This staircase is our personal staircase and it doesn’t belong to anyone else, there is no beginning and there is no limit to how high we can climb. Sometimes we move up; sometimes, down. Sometimes we stay stuck; other times, we move. Although we all live and eventually die, death isn’t an endpoint. Death isnt a finish line that comes at a set point in the staircase, but instead can come at any time for any of us; no one is too young, too old, too healthy, or too rich to pass away at any moment. Each step in the staircase is an improvement we make to ourselves, and the more steps we take to improve ourselves, the higher we climb into our potential; the higher we climb, the more opportunity we can see out on the horizon.
Living our lives with a solution focus will allow us more chances at improvement. Every single time we encounter a problem, it should be recognized as an opportunity to improve. If you are getting better in life, then you are truly making the most of your life. As the great Napoleon Hill said in Think and Grow Rich, “Every failure brings with it a seed of equal or greater opportunity.”