Success? Here’s What It Is


Success to me is being able to seize opportunities now because your past decisions placed you in a position to take advantage of them. Future success is having the decisions you make in your present put you in position to take advantage of opportunities in your future.

Let’s be honest here, we can’t know with absolute certainty, exactly what our futures hold. Furthermore, the further we gaze into the future, the odds continue to get lower and lower that what we imagine, guess, hypothesize, or yes – even plan for – will actually turn into our reality.

So if this is true, some people would take this to mean why plan anything? Indeed, why plan at all if what we do in the future can’t be predicted with absolute certainty? I found myself cooking hamburgers last evening instead of chicken breasts, rice and vegetables. Why? Because just as it was time to start preparing the evening meal, my wife had a change in what she wanted and having both options available, she surprised me and opted for burgers. What I’d planned at 11:30a.m when out shopping wasn’t what I started preparing at 6:00p.m.

Now yes, it is only dinner. But what about the big stuff? You know, choosing courses in high school that lead to College or University? What about planning on graduating and getting a job instead of post secondary education? These choices to be made and more importantly, decisions to be made, have consequences years down the road. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone said, “I wish I’d stayed in school”, or, “I wish I had my degree.” Then again, less often but now and then, I also hear, “I wish I’d just got a job after my degree instead of getting my Masters.” Additional schooling isn’t always the right choice.

Yes, we can’t know with any certainty that Life (with a capital, ‘L’) will turn out exactly like we envision it will when we look ahead. That being said, I don’t advocate just throwing up your arms in submission and winging it until you die. We’ll all have regrets in the end; choices we made that we wish in retrospect we could go back and alter. Some of our regrets will be larger than others, and I suppose the best we can hope for is that our regrets tend to be minor and not major ones.

As good as the burgers were, I’d rather have had the chicken. However, as I bought both when out shopping, I still get the chicken tonight; a day later than I had planned, but I can only do so because I had the foresight to buy both. A minor delay in getting what I want most. However, we can’t always have it so. No, some of the choices we make send us down roads that never seem to have a U-turn; and there’s no going back. That person you should have told how you felt but never had the guts to do so moved away, married someone else, and you just wonder ever so often, ‘what if…?’

Education is a great example of this whole concept of putting yourself in a position to succeed further ahead in life. While you’re only in your early teens now perhaps, school officials are on you to choose your courses – the university or college stream. The choices you make either keep both doors open or close the university option. Sure you can always go back and upgrade courses later in life as a mature adult, it just means you take a longer route to get to University.

Keeping doors open sounds like a reasonably smart thing to do though, especially when you can be influenced by so many things between now and when high school is done. By the time you’ve finished with school and you’re in your late 20’s, you’ll either be happy or disappointed with the choices you’re being asked to make now in your early teens re. those course selections. The jobs you are considering in your 20’s require some level of education. If you opted for the degree, you have more options than the college diploma; the college diploma more options than the high school diploma and the high school diploma more options than dropping out without finishing high school.

Now some make a wonderful life without having finished high school. The jobs they hold and enjoy doing don’t require post secondary education, so let’s acknowledge them. However, many more people are happy they stayed in school, graduated and went on to get a degree or diploma, and a lot of people wish they had. Even the ones who lie on their resumes and say they have their high school when they don’t are demonstrating they know it is an advantage to have it.

Whether we’re talking education, volunteering, working or relationships etc., the principle is exactly the same; the decisions we’ve made in our past either allow us to take advantage of opportunities in the present or they don’t. The thing is, our past decisions can’t be altered.

What we can do is think about the decisions we make today and moving forward. It’s these decisions that will put ourselves in position to seize opportunities in the future; some of which we can’t possibly even imagine now. The good decisions keep the doors open.

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Making Bad Choices, Then Feeling Bad


Out of control; moving from one chaotic event to the next, over thinking things and then having everything you do questioned, analyzed, evaluated, summarized and judged; these the things you do to yourself.

Sometimes the one who judges us the hardest isn’t a stranger, family or friend, but rather the one who greets us each morning when we look in the mirror; ourselves. After all, we know ourselves more intimately than anyone else. Only we know each thought we have, why we do the things we do. Check that last one… there are times we haven’t got any explanation for the things we’ve done. Could be we often ask ourselves, “Why on earth did I do that? What was I thinking?”

Living daily in chaos and under constant pressure and strain stretches our resources to the point where our thinking becomes skewed so the decisions we make are flawed. We end up making bad choices we then regret; lowering our opinion of ourselves and feeling worse than before. Rather than learning from our mistakes, they get repeated, and later repeated yet again, and how we perceive ourselves sinks each time. The pattern of feeling bad about ourselves a lot of the time can lead us to make even poorer choices.

The funny thing is (only it’s not funny at all), when we make all these bad decisions, they seem so right at the time. That’s the hardest part for us to understand later. Trying to explain this or justify this to someone else who questions us is just impossible. We can’t help feeling so small; like a child being scolded by an adult who catches us doing something dumb. But as a child, at least we could be forgiven for not knowing better. By now, we should have grown up, matured, learned to make better decisions and have our stuff together. Instead, we can’t even make simple decisions without a struggle; like what to pack the kids for lunch.

You’d think that asking for help would be easy; a logical step to make sense of all the chaos, but think about that – if it was easy, you’d think you’d do that – so is not asking for help just another thing you’re doing wrong? Figures!

If everything above sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone. If you struggle to do things that others find simple, like find something on the internet, open a bank account, file your taxes or get your child tax credit, don’t feel you’re the only one so there has to be something wrong with you.

The thing about making decisions is that when you make a good one you feel better. Make a second and a third good decision and you develop a pattern. Repeat the pattern and you start to gain confidence and view yourself as having good decision-making skills. The same however is true when the decisions you make don’t turn out the way you’d hoped. One bad decision on its own is exactly that; just one bad decision. A second followed by a third etc. establishes a pattern and you can easily feel that based on results, you make poor choices.

Decisions we make are always based on the information we have at the time. So when trying to figure out what to pack the kids for a school lunch, we look in the fridge or the cupboards and what we pack is based on what’s available. We can’t send what we don’t have. While it’s clear to someone else we sent something inappropriate, it was at the time the best choice we had, avoiding sending something worse or nothing at all. Unfortunately, other people only see what we sent and judge our decision-making solely based on what they see, not what possible items we rejected. In other words, you may have actually made the best choice anyone could have made based on what you found as options.

The same is true for the big decisions that go wrong in the end. You might choose a job that doesn’t work out and then another; then start to question why you make such bad choices. It could be that you just lack the right information in the first place about how to go about finding a good fit. The thing is, at the time, the choices you made – and continue to make – seem right. You’re not dumb or stupid; you lack the knowledge to make a better informed choice. Without that necessary information, its like a game of hit and miss; with a lot more misses.

Getting help with making decisions from people you trust is not a sign of weakness, but rather wisdom. But I get it; people you’ve trusted in the past, abused your trust and things didn’t go well. That’s led you to only trust yourself, and as things aren’t working out any better, this has you feeling worse, with no one to turn to.

Decide for yourself of course … but you may want to find one person you can share small stuff with and see if they can help you. If they do help you make good decisions, they might help you with the bigger things later.

Good decisions are hard to make in times of chaos – for anybody. Learning how to make better decisions, like any other skill, can be learned and could be exactly what you need.

The High Cost Of Indecision


So you have a big decision to make. You’ve been wrestling with it for some time, weighing out pros and cons of the choices before you. Somehow though, you just can’t bring yourself to make that choice. Two questions for you: why the delay and what’s it costing you to delay?

As to why you are stalling on deciding, you probably don’t want to make the wrong choice. Could be that in the past you made other big decisions with what you thought was sound reasoning and good judgement and those decisions didn’t turn out so well. The last thing you want to do is repeat making a poor choice and coming to regret it.

This is often the case when the choice before you is similar to one you regret from the past. Like deciding if you should commit the next two or three years to going to College/University and going into debt in the process. Years ago you borrowed money and started school but never finished the program because it didn’t turn out to be what you’d hoped it would. All you got was the debt and an incomplete education; one year of a 3 year program. The fear now is you’ll make another bad choice and add to your debt.

You might also be wrestling with taking a job – any job – versus waiting to find the right job. You figure that if you’re working in a job you don’t like just to make some money, you won’t have the time to properly look for that dream job, and you won’t be able to go to an interview if you’re working now will you? So you’re stuck.

This indecision isn’t confined to work or school either. Perhaps you’re indecisive about asking someone out, wondering if you should or shouldn’t pop the big question to the love of your life, or indecisive about whether you should tell everyone your big secret.

Whatever you are indecisive about, there’s a cost you’re paying now, and a cost you’re going to pay the longer you put off making a choice. The choice to choose is entirely yours to make or not of course (and that’s the real issue) but don’t pretend you’re not paying for your indecision.

What’s the cost? Anxiety, low self-esteem, self-doubt, dangerous thoughts about what’s wrong and the pressure, pressure, pressure! Deadline dates for enrolling in school might get missed, the love of your life might get tired of waiting on you to pop the question, that guy or girl you’re mad about might end up going out with somebody else; not because they like them any better, but because they actually got around to asking. As for employment, the job you dream about might appear and you never get an interview because of the present gap on your resume…and it’s only getting wider and becoming more of a problem.

Help!

Okay, here’s help. Suppose you have two options you’re trying to choose between. Let’s start with something with relatively less pressure; ice cream. Is it going to be Butterscotch Ripple or Raspberry Thunder? The problem is you like them both, and no you can’t get a scoop of each. Choose. Maybe for you this isn’t a big deal and you don’t see the relevance to your problem. Go with me on this. Choose. So you went with the Raspberry Thunder figuring you like it just as much as Butterscotch Ripple and after all, you figure you can always choose it the next time you want a cone. Decision made and you’re enjoying the ice cream instead of standing there in the heat salivating but being unable to decide.

The choice between two post secondary programs, or two universities is exactly the same just on a bigger scale. Don’t fret it. Choose. You would enjoy both programs and more importantly you’d be happy in the career possibilities a degree in either opens up. Great. You’ve got a choice between a winner and another winner, just like the ice cream.  Make the choice and the anxiety over having to decide is eliminated. Second guessing is not helpful. Commit to your choice. Oh and by the way, after you’ve graduated, you might decide to find work in the field or perhaps add to your education with the other choice – but let your future self wrestle with that one – you don’t have the information at present to know how you’ll feel in 3 years.

Now when you have to make a choice but don’t know what the choices are, (like trying to decide what to do with your life; what to be), it can seem harder. Really though, you just lack the information upon which to make a decision. You need to learn what kind of work is out there, what education and experience is needed, where the jobs are located, the hours, pros and cons etc. In short, you need to research to get the information you lack now to make a good choice.

Then again, when faced with a decision flip a coin. When it’s in the air, see if you don’t suddenly in that 2 seconds find yourself hoping it lands one way or the other. You’d be surprised how often the way you hope the coin lands is more important than how it actually turns out; you know instinctively what you want; just don’t look to see if it is heads or tails – you’ll only be confused.

 

The Pressure To Choose


At 8 years old, “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

At 13 years old, “You should start thinking about getting a part-time job.”

At 15 years old, “Are you taking College or University level courses in school?”

At 17 years old, “What Universities or Colleges are you looking at going to?”

At 19 years old, “What will that degree or diploma qualify you to be?” Are you sure?”

At 24 years old, “You changed your mind! What are you going to be?”

At 30 years old, “You’re changing careers?  Again? So what’s it going to be now?”

At 36 years old, “I’m sorry things aren’t working out. “What’ll make you happy?”

At 45 years old, “What are you going to do with your life? Such a disappointment.”

At 55 years old, “Had you made better choices, you’d be retired by now.”

At 60 years old, “So what are you going to do with the next 5 years of your life?”

At 65 years old, “It’s a shame really. Such potential and no life savings, poor dear.”

Maybe this sounds familiar in part or in whole. Interesting when you put the sequence of questions together though and look at them in their entirety. Can you spot the questions that are truly asked to seek information and separate them from the questions that really show others expectations and judgements?

When you’re the one asking out of genuine interest, the questions seem innocent enough. Perhaps you’re the grandparent or parent with an inquisitive nature; you want the best for your grandchild or child, and you see the world before them. They can be anything and anyone they choose to be; the possibilities are endless!

However, on the receiving end, you may well remember the angst you felt yourself when the question was turned to you. First of all it’s improbable as a child that you’d even know the majority of jobs that you could find rewarding. You’re limited to considering an occupation based on what you’ve been personally exposed to. As a very young child, many want to be a Doctor, Fire Fighter, Dentist or Teacher because these are within the limits of what they’ve seen or experienced.

By the time high school is underway, your already being told to choose university or college level courses, most often without any real idea of what either experience might be best for you personally. For many, a school official may have reasoned you were bright enough for university or you were intellectually challenged and university would prove far too difficult. Though well-meaning, you were encouraged to take the college level classes, or you were introduced to a trade as a viable alternative because you were good with your hands.

Yes, people feel a lot of pressure and anxiety when feeling they have to pick a career. Even in a job interview, employers often ask, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” Or they might ask, “How does this position fit with your overall career goals?” Ever sat there and realized you have no idea whatsoever? You haven’t thought much beyond just getting this job and you’ve no career goals that come to mind?

Well if you’re fortunate enough to know what it is you want to do and you’re working the plan to get there, I say good for you! Excellent in fact! Well done! With a long-term goal you can get help mapping out the steps along the way you need to take to eventually arrive at your destination of choice. That’s commendable.

However, if you have no long-term goal in mind, or you’re torn between 4 things that you find appealing, you might be thinking, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just decide on something and be normal like everyone else? I’m such a loser!”

Well, you’re not a loser for starters, and no, not everyone else has it figured out. In fact, only a handful of people know what they want to be when they are children and years later emerge in life fully satisfied in the same profession they once only dreamed of. For the majority – the vast majority – as we grow up we meet people in different roles, and the more we see and interact with, the more we have new information to consider.

If you want an answer to that question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, that will be 100% right, tell them, “Older.”

Now depending on who is asking, realize that as parents and grandparents, they care about you. They are naturally curious to hear your thoughts. Even if you have no idea or you’re confused, it’s okay to say exactly that. It’s better than just saying, “I don’t know” and closing the door to your bedroom, shutting them out.

Good advice is to talk with people about their jobs. Gain some experience by doing some various things and pay attention to what you find pleasing and personally rewarding. Equally as valuable, pay attention to what you find unsatisfactory. You don’t have to choose one career and stick with it until you retire. That’s not the only success.

Success could be changing jobs several times over your lifetime, making full use of different skills as you acquire them, leading where you once followed, or taking on a new challenge to stretch yourself. You might head back to school and you might not. There’s no one formula for success.

Be true to yourself. Maybe – just maybe – that’s a good thing to be as you grow up.

Suppose You Were Given This Key…


Imagine if you will that you chance upon a box which upon opening, has a key and a note. The note reads, “Congratulations. You are now the owner of a key which will open any one single thing you desire. Choose wisely.” What would you open?

Depending on your inquisitiveness, you might be already wondering whether you found the key at home or work; was it out in the open like on your desk or hidden behind some wall in a castle you’re visiting built in the 1400’s? Don’t fret about that. You might wonder who put it there? Why me? How big or small is it? How could it open anything? Will it change shape as I insert it? You’ve been gifted this unique opportunity so just accept it and don’t over think it; the key is in your possession so leave it at that.

So do you opt for something tangible like the keys to a house? I suppose if you’re homeless or have had a life full of moving from one substandard housing unit to another this might have great appeal. On the other hand, if you already have stable housing and you’re relatively happy with what you have, the idea of using this key to unlock something you already have holds less appeal. In other words, you might not want to use the key to make a minor upgrade on what you already own. This you perceive is the big game-changer; the one chance you’ve got to dramatically alter your current existence.

Maybe you’ll go for the tangible but indulgent. You know, the key to a yacht, your own private jet, the front door to a vacation property in some island paradise. Why you can almost hear the jingle, “Just imagine” from a Lotto 649 commercial playing in your head. The fanciful side of you may want the yacht but before you actually declare with finality that the yacht is what it fits, the practical side of you says, “Hold on! We’ll have to pay the insurance, the storage fees and just think of the gas money at todays prices!” So you second guess what you want this key to open and pause to reconsider.

After some moments you think that maybe something tangible isn’t the only thing this key could open. Maybe the romantic lover in you imagines then that this key unlocks the heart of that person you’ve always wanted to see you in the same way you see them. They’ve always had your heart but somehow you’ve never felt they shared your feelings; this key you own could be used to open what you most desire and always have; them. But then some voice whispers to you that it just seems wrong somehow to get this person this way. You really want them to come to love you for who you are, not because you used this key as you would a love potion.

Sigh….

What about a job then? Ah, a job! Not just any job but THE job! The one you’ve tried unsuccessfully to get for what seems like an eternity. It does say it will open anything you desire so why not the door that keeps getting slammed in your face every time you apply for work? Yes, your dream job. Just wish it and it becomes your reality…your phone will ring in minutes with some voice at the other end telling you they’d be thrilled to have you come and work with them!

Unlike the heart of the person you’re hopelessly – or Hope Fully in love with, there’s little or no guilt surely in getting what you want by using this key. There’s nothing wrong with using it to unlock the doors to that corner office in the tower, the Chairman’s office, the Ranger tower in the forest or – well wherever this job you want is located. So why does your conscience nag at you that using it to get that job cause you difficulty?

Okay, okay! So you go to something that’s just fun and harmless. The key may just unlock the door to the local ice cream shop. Yes! Ice cream when you want it for you and your friends! A myriad of flavours at your choosing; vanilla and chocolate when you’re in the mood and raspberry thunder when you’re craving it! Harmless too; it’s only ice cream! Ah, but your health would suffer you acknowledge. After all, how much ice cream could you eat without having your fill? What if you got diabetes or became lactose intolerant? Then your wish for ice cream would be a cruel joke and a waste of the key. Rethink.

What about a vault that holds money. Surely then you could use the money stored there to get whatever you want and when you want it! As your needs and wants change, the money would be there to easily go out and get it. Would that be so bad? It’s like using your last wish to ask the Genie for more wishes. That has its problems too of course.

Enough with the ideas to spur one’s imagination. Would it make a difference in what you wish for if there was a limited time to use it? Would you unlock the mysteries of the universe?

What would the key open if you come across it today?

Maybe you already hold such a key.

 

 

What Are YOU Waiting For?


Whether it’s deliberating on returning to school, putting off seeing a Mental Health Counsellor, having a mammogram or colonoscopy, getting in shape, taking that trip, saying I love you or any number of things you could be stalling over, I simply ask you, “what are you waiting for?”

Is it the right moment? When do you see that happening? What are you waiting to fall into place so the time is right?

Do. It. Now.

We know that time doesn’t wait; every powered clock ticks by and the second that just elapsed will never come again. Yes there is an urgency and you’ve been lucky so far in delaying taking action. So far, things haven’t significantly changed robbing you of the opportunity to do what it is your mulling or fretting over. However, with every passing second there is an increasing possibility that something can and will change, stealing your opportunity and that possibility will be replaced with regret. Is that what you want?

Consider: you might know someone who waited too long to tell another how much they were in love. Then what happened? In waiting for just the right moment, a third person entered in and with just a little more urgency said what they did not. Opportunity gone.

Maybe you know someone who said, “I should have gone back to school but I was waiting until I earned more money first…now I’m too old. There’s people who planned on traveling abroad and seeing the world but never actually went anywhere because instead they bended to family pressures and stayed home. Perhaps you know someone who always wanted to be a (fill in the blank) but put off really going for it because it just seemed too hard – and that disappointment still haunts them.

Too much can happen while you deliberate. People move or die, jobs get filled, prices rise, doors once open close, responsibilities surface, needs change… you get the point. Do it now.

I have to tell you that one of the biggest mental blocks I hear over and over in my job is, “but I’m too old now”. Who says so? is my reply. Most of the time the one person holding them back isn’t some Hiring Manager at a company they want to work for, nor is it someone in Human Resources refusing to advance their application. No, more often than not the person who thinks they are too old is the person themselves. Here it is in a nutshell: if you think you’re too old…you are. And until you change this crippling mindset you will continue to be.

How sad it is to be locked in some prison cell of our own making with the key in our hands and lamenting to anyone passing by that you just want to be released. The key (literally in this scenario) is in your hands! Open the door!

You always have choices: 1) Do it now. 2) Do it later (maybe) 3) Don’t do it.

If it’s important enough that you lie awake consumed with wanting badly; if it’s your every waking moment’s thought; if in your most personal and intimate moments of reflection it just keeps surfacing, don’t you owe it to yourself to make it your reality? At least to try?

How long is your lifespan? You have no idea of course. You imagine yourself living a set number of years, and you hope those will be in decent if not good health. Your time is finite. From the moment you were conceived and later breathed that first gasp of air your clock starting ticking and will at an unknown point suddenly stop without warning. Yours might stop at 34 years, 16 days and 23 minutes. Maybe it’s 51 years, 11 months and 6 minutes, 18 seconds. Of this you have no absolute knowledge or control.

What you can control is what you choose to do with the time you have now. What is important to you? Who are the people important to you? What are the causes you care about, where are the places you want to see in-person, what are the changes in the world you want to bring about that are important to you to make it a better place? What is the education or job you always wanted?

For if you knew you only had 2 years left, would you spend your remaining days going about life the way you are now? Would your answer change if you had 6 months? What if you knew you had 60 years left? Would having all that time left cause you to put off what you really want today?

Now you may be someone who wants to get going but can’t figure out what it is you really want. Maybe that’s at the core of your stress; the indecisiveness and associated inaction. DO SOMETHING. Nothing happens until you take action. So take a chance and learn from the outcome. Register for school, tell somebody how much you mean to them, go to the gym, buy the house, get on the plane, mend the feud that’s kept you apart, take the course, say yes instead of maybe.

With every passing second, you’re rolling the dice and gambling that they’ll always be time in the future to do what you want to do but lack the courage to do now.

Will your life be punctuated with a period or an exclamation mark? Hopefully not a dreaded question mark.

 

 

Problem? Show Your Skills. Solve It


One of the most common skills you’ll find on many job postings is the requirement to solve problems. As an Employment Counsellor, I notice the relative ease with which many people happily add the ability to solve problems to their resumes. Ah, but when faced with problems that I observe, they are sorely lacking in this area.

It would seem that many people don’t think about their problem solving skills outside of the workplaces they are trying to get employed with. It’s as if they are saying, “I have to get a job before I can show you my problem solving skills.” Really? Uh, no that’s not true.

We all have problems; some are small, some large and some are truly huge which we have to work on over a long period of time. All problems however have certain characteristics in common and the process for eliminating them is similar.

Problems by their nature threaten our goals. When we identify what we want to achieve, we then determine if things stand in our way be they small, medium or large and then we have to evaluate whether those things, (let’s call them barriers or challenges) are worth the effort to overcome or not. If we determine our end goals are important enough, we set out to tackle the barriers. If the barriers themselves are too massive to overcome and we aren’t willing to put in the effort to move past them, the goals we want aren’t important enough to us and we might as well stop ‘wanting’ the end goal. We’re setting ourselves up for failure; well at least until achieving the end goal takes on greater importance to us than the work it will take to eliminate the barriers standing in our way.

Simply put, make sure your goals are bigger than your biggest problems.

Suppose you’ve looked at what you want to do career-wise, and you’ve determined that a return to school is absolutely critical in order to get the academic qualifications necessary to compete for that dream job. You’re looking at 2-3 years of College or University. This means you’re also going to have to take on 2-3 years of debt and you’ll be 3-4 years older when you graduate and ready to compete with others for your end goal. Depending on a number of factors such as your age, how much you really want that career and your perception of debt vs. an investment in yourself, you either have to pass up the end goal because going to school is standing in your way or you enrol and invest money and time in yourself.

Or perhaps you find the job you really want is in another neighbouring city and it’s going to take you 1.5 hours to get there and another 1.5 hours to return each day by transit. You know you COULD move closer, but you’ve got your child in school and at 8 years old they’d have to change schools and you’ve got family just down the street for emotional support. One person will choose to stay put choosing unemployment for the present and the status quo while another will choose to pick up and relocate, rationalizing that the child is only 8 and kids make new friends in no time; what’s the big deal?

The thing about problems or challenges is that they always come with choices. The good problem solvers know that the first step to solving problems is to see them for what they actually are not what they imagine them to be. They weigh the importance of their end goals against the problems standing in their way and then brainstorm the various options they have to eliminate the problems. One thing they also do is ask other people for input; after all, other people might present options they themselves haven’t considered.

Smaller scale problems that crop up are solved the same way. You wake up and there are salt stains on your favourite pair of pants; pants you were planning on wearing. One person might just toss them in the laundry and pull out a second pair while another person might let that small problem paralyze them entirely; throwing off their mood, upsetting their plans and they just don’t go to work or that big interview because they have, ‘nothing to wear’.  (It’s true actually; I’ve heard this one many times.)

When you tackle a small problem and succeed, two things happen. First of all the immediate problem is overcome and you’re closer to achieving your goal. Secondly you build some confidence in your ability to solve problems, and that confidence gives you the courage to tackle other problems. Start to solve a few problems and you feel you can apply the same thought process and actions to tackle even bigger issues, and soon you’ve got a track record of solving your issues. Now you can truly say you are good at solving problems AND you’ll have examples to cite when asked in an interview as proof rather than a baseless claim.

So when faced with a problem, stack it up against your end goal. See the problem for what it actually is. Brainstorm your options. Get ideas from others. Take action if the end goal is important enough to you and if it isn’t, ditch the goal you’ve got in mind. Remember, if your problems are bigger than your goals, nothing happens unless you change the value of the end goal.