You’ve had countless problems over the course of your life. You’ve had financial woes, health challenges, relationship issues, weeds in your yard, leaky faucets, flaky friends, and mean bosses. Maybe, you’re not even sure what to do with your life.
Have you ever noticed that once one problem is solved, another one magically appears in its place?
It’s not magic – it’s just that you can only recognize so many issues at one time.
For example, if you’re struggling to find the money to pay your rent on Friday, you’re not acutely aware that weeds are trying to take over your flower beds. If you’re in agony because of a back injury, you’re not worried about the fact that you’re not living your life’s purpose.
You have an infinite number of problems just lying in wait for you to notice them. Surprise!
1. There’s a hierarchy to your problems. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs spells it out quite accurately. If you’re not familiar with Maslow’s work, it’s worth checking out. Your needs, from first to last are:
- Physiological needs: Food, water, shelter, clothing. It’s hard to live without these things.
- Safety needs: Safety and security. You don’t want others to hurt you or steal your stuff. But you’re not worried about them stealing your possessions if you don’t have enough water to survive.
- Social needs: Friends, intimate relationships, and feeling like you “belong.”
- Ego needs: Self-esteem, accomplishment, power, recognition.
- Self-actualization: Living your purpose, self-development.
- Notice that these needs must be met in order, or your life will be a mess. If you need food and a place to live, those needs are more pressing than finding your life’s purpose.
2. Be prepared to always have challenges to deal with. Perhaps it would be better to view them as puzzles to be solved.
- Avoid believing that your life will be perfect after you solve this one last issue. There’s no problem you can solve, nothing you can buy, no partner you can find, and nothing you can accomplish that will rid your life of future challenges. And that’s okay.
- You’ve handled thousands of challenges, and truly, you can handle thousands more.
- Keep in mind that there’s only one way for your life to be perfect. There are an infinite number of ways for it to be less than perfect.
3. The more problems you solve, the higher you get to move up the hierarchy. Think of it as climbing a mountain. However, it’s a mountain that might require a lifetime to climb.
- Many people fail to get past the social needs category. In many places in the world, the physical and safety needs are never resolved by most of the people living there.
4. Determine where you are on the hierarchy. Avoid attempting to move beyond your current level. You’ll only struggle, and you’ll fail to make lasting progress. It also doesn’t make sense to try. Fulfill the lower level needs first, and then move up the ladder.
You’ve always had challenges and will continue to do so. Give up the idea that your life will finally be free of problems after you pay off your house, the kids graduate from college, or you retire. It’s just not true.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. There’s a silver lining to this conundrum.
Your challenges also bring opportunities. Besides resolving the current issues caused by the challenge, when you overcome it, you grow. You discover qualities that you didn’t know you had.
You also gain:
And these are just a few of the benefits!
What you learn from overcoming a challenge can catapult you to new heights of success and enable you to make your dreams come true.
It’s good to be aware of the reality of your situation. That way, you can resolve your issues as they come up, all the while making your life better and better.
Deal with your life with a smile on your face and the understanding that the game never really ends.
Just pull the weeds from your life and keep going!