(NNPA)—In our journey of life, we all have problems. There are enough problems to go around. The trick is how we look at them and whether we react the right way in order to solve them. Too often, people are looking at a problem without even realizing that it is a problem.

Understanding is half the battle when it comes to problem solving. You must first understand what a problem is before attempting to identify it or even resolve it.

Let’s examine what Webster says about problems:

a. A question raised for consideration

b. A source of distress

c. Difficulty in understanding

Now that you can identify problems in your life, you can go about the business of solving them. For some, problem solving is as easy as thinking. For others, problem solving requires a process.

Don’t Personalize The Problem

Problem solving means not personalizing a problem, realizing that we will all go through our trials and tribulations. Life is like a rollercoaster—it has its ups and downs. If you de-personalize the problem, it becomes a problem instead of your problem. Then you can step to the problem with the perspective of: “This too shall pass.” Once you have placed a problem in its proper perspective, it becomes easier to resolve.

The difference is as simple as saying “My business is having difficulties—what can I do to solve them?” as opposed to saying: “My business is going under.”

With the first statement, there is a clear problem there that can be resolved. With the second statement, failure is a foregone conclusion, and, at that point, problem solving is useless.

The old question of whether the glass is half empty or half full is a pure reference to perspective.

Learn From Your Problems

“The present is a product of the past. If you’re living for now, today—without any relationship or respect for what happened yesterday—you put yourself at risk for repeating the same mistake.”—Mos Def

When life gives you lemons—make lemonade!

How many times have you heard that phrase?

I’m sure you’ve heard it more than a few times. The real issue is whether you have internalized it or not.

Are you sitting around depressed and sucking on life’s lemons, complaining about what has happened, or are you moving forward with that knowledge under your belt?

We not only learn from the situations that life presents us, but from the people who are a part of those situations. That means that we should pay close attention to the type of people we meet because more than likely we will meet those types of people again later in life. If we have paid attention, we will know how to deal with them.

If you understand what happened yesterday, it is less likely that it will go on today.

I believe that if we learn enough about what we have been through and about the people we have been through it with, we can actually ward off future problems, solving them before they occur.

If you understand clearly what happened before, you can prevent it from reoccurring.

To me, life is a classroom. It doesn’t matter if the situation involves family, friends, relationships or business—there is always something to learn. Once I have examined a situation and I have processed it all internally, I have graduated from that class and have a degree in that situation. When I encounter that situation again, I will be able to work from the inside out.

For example, a child learns that when he touches a hot stove, pain will follow. As the child grows older, the hot stove is avoided, so that the pain can also be avoided.

Business situations are no different. If you are in business with someone who has cheated you out of money, the best thing to do would be to end the business relationship. Sometimes, you can even learn from what has happened in the immediate past.

Once you have analyzed the problem and placed it in its proper perspective, you can formulate a plan of attack and attack the problem.

Think of yourself as the general of a great army of soldiers, dedicated to attacking the enemy at all costs. Remember, this is your life at stake, and your success depends on your actions!

(Dr. Farrah Gray can be reached via e-mail at fg@drfarrahgray.com or his website at http://www.drfarrahgray.com/.)

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