All of us have created problems for ourselves and others at some time during our life. We probably did not mean to, and hopefully we did everything we could to straighten it out once we realized our error. Learning and growing includes making mistakes. If we do not learn from our mistakes, we are destined to repeat them. To keep creating problems for ourselves and others repeatedly is painful. A little bit of thoughtfulness goes a long way in breaking that painful process. Maybe an example will help my point.
In the process of growing up and learning how to do things, a child makes many mistakes. They are not only learning how to do their daily chores and other responsibilities assigned to them at home and at school, but they are also learning right from wrong. Isn’t it interesting that you never have to teach a child how to do something wrong? They are born knowing how to do that! It is our job as parents, teachers, and other adults to teach them how to mature in the right direction in life.
Because of their immaturity, children often create problems for themselves. If you have ever had children or grandchildren, you know exactly what I mean. This is not said in a negative way; it is simply an observation that they are generally “problem-creators” until they mature enough to be problem-solvers, able to solve problems for themselves and help others as well.
Unfortunately, I have observed that many children grow into adulthood without having gained that maturity. They leave behind a trail of problems that someone else must straighten out. They do not know how to take responsibility for themselves and often have a poorly developed sense of character, integrity and honesty. That creates problems for everyone.
When I was growing up, my father always said, “If you tell the truth, you will never have to remember what you said.” I have learned that is the best way to keep a problem from starting in the first place. Always tell the truth, be forth right and honest in your dealings with other people. And, as soon as something begins to go wrong, do everything you can to resolve the problem, rather than letting it linger or get bigger.
As I have said before, it is my belief that the key to being a problem-solver is learning to plan ahead and anticipate challenges. Waiting until the last minute to do what needs to be done only raises your stress level. With just a little bit of planning and forethought, you can be a problem-solver rather than waiting until a problem is created.
Years ago, I was a school principal. We were in a board meeting one night discussing a problem that had recently occurred in school. I made the comment, “Well, you can’t cry over spilled milk!” One of my board members, who was older and wiser than myself spoke up and said, “Yes, but you can clean it up before it spoils!” He was right.
The older I get, the more I see that this is becoming a bigger and bigger issue with me. I do not mind working on any problem, regardless of what it is, to solve it and learn how to do it better in the future. However, it drives me completely crazy when the same problem arises over and over and over again, and regardless of what I do, it just will not go away. That is when I ask myself, “Am I a problem-solver or have I become a problem-creator?” I suppose it boils down to the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!” I want my life to be filled with love, joy, and peace. I find that the only way that will happen is if I learn how to live my life as a problem-solver rather than a problem-creator.
What is the biggest challenge you are facing right now? Is it possible that you are the one who is creating the problem or possibly contributing to its on-going nature? Your answer may be a hard pill to swallow. However, ask yourself how you can solve the problem and then create a system of protection where it will continue to be solved in the future rather than reoccurring constantly. That is when you will have become a problem-solver, not a problem-creator. And that is when you will find real happiness and success.
If you will take a little time to meditate on this truth, it will change your life. It will work wonders on your schedule, and it will bring more peace and stability into your daily situations than you ever thought possible. You will be the winner for it. Really!
Tip: It is better to be a problem-solver than a problem-creator!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm