I love this quote from author Jonathan Mead: “Sometimes the easiest way to solve a problem is to stop participating in the problem.”
Why? Because it offers an approach to what we can do about problems that appear too big to solve, and therefore beyond our ability to make a difference. Huh?
What We Focus on Grows
How could you be participating in a problem that seems impossible to impact? Well, what we focus on grows. And that’s true whether we want it to grow or not. Here are just a few ways we can unintentionally feed a problem when we really want it to stop:
No kidding. Every time we complain about a problem, we are feeding it just by giving it our attention. Find this hard to believe?
Well, try this: Pick a problem and head to the Internet, the television, or the radio to learn more about it. Chances are, if you are focusing on the problem, it will feel bigger and bigger, and you will feel worse and worse the longer you do this little experiment.
Adding to the Problem’s Negative Energy
The problem is feeding you its negative energy, and you are returning that negativity with interest. When this happens, we participate in the problem, whether we are intending to or not.
Now, if instead you’d just set the problem aside, it might have bugged you for a while, but most likely, you would have found something else on which to focus. And, while you might have found another problem to feed, you wouldn’t be feeding this first one.
The same dynamic applies when we pay attention to someone’s behavior we don’t like or worry about other people and their “problems.” Unintentionally, we feed the very thing we worry about.
Focusing on Solutions is Most Helpful
While the most helpful approach to problems is to focus on solutions and feed those, the truth is, sometimes we just can’t do that. Sometimes holding space for the positive is just more than we can muster energetically right this minute, or hour, or day.
That’s very real. And that’s OK. Which is exactly why I appreciate Mead’s words: “Sometimes the easiest way to solve a problem is to stop participating in the problem.”
Sometimes turning away from a problem is the best thing we can do about it, at least for now. While it may not be a contribution to its solution, at least we’re not making it bigger. And that’s not a small thing.
Are you ready to live your life with more lightness and freedom?
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