Why is it that when children reach a certain age, they stop taking intellectual risks? Our Miss Blue Dot 11 has suddenly stopped trying new stuff at school, and seems to be problem averse. Miss Purple Dot 15 went through it too but is getting through – the parent teacher interview theme is ‘how should we get them to take more risks with their learning?’. Maybe it’s puberty, maybe it’s image based, or maybe it’s just plain slack – but whatever the reason, reigniting enthusiasm for problem solving is a bit like trying to push a rope uphill.
So how do you work with someone who for whatever reason, needs to get off their mental chuff? (Yes, even including yourself).
Call me wildly optimistic, but to me problems aren’t obstacles – they’re opportunities to grow. I love them.
If you think of a gym, it’s full of weights. We lift those weights and push against the resistance. As our muscles get stronger, we add more weight, thereby increasing the resistance, and building more muscles. All physical exercise is based on some form of resistance. Running, swimming, rowing, even dancing. It all involves applying ourselves against something again and again to make ourselves stronger. Or bigger. Or smaller, or faster or fitter. Now here’s the cool part.
The word ‘problem’ comes from the 14th century word ‘proballein’ (pro “forward” and ballein “to throw”)
If we think of our problems as mental weights, mental resistance, and we consistently work with them, what’s going to happen to our mental, emaotional and spititual muscles? You got it! After a while, we become Arnold Einsteinegger, the world’s strongest thinker! And how cool would that feel? So the next time you scoff at some of those cheesey metaphors about problems being mountains waiting to climb, journeys to begin and rocks to move – think a bit. Then think again. One more time.
So if you’ve got a problem that’s just a bit heavy for you, you have two options. Either work your way up to it, or get someone else to help you lift it.
I’d be glad to help.