Is something driving you crazy enough to DO something about it?
When I was a few decades younger, I would allow little things to drive me crazy for weeks, months or even years. Now that I’m somewhat wiser, I start to catch things that make me agitated and set about to fix “the thing, the problem” before it gets to the driving me crazy stage.
Here’s an example. From the beginning of high school through to getting my fast tracked University Degree, I held down a variety of part time jobs, a full time job that lasted two years and a variety of side hustles.
There were several things that drove me crazy.
- Always running late for the bus.
- Frequently NOT being able to find my car keys when I was already late.
Here’s HOW I learned to FIX “Drive You Crazy” problems permanently.
My first university Psychology class was a gift from heaven. The prof was a … prodigy. She was twenty-two, stunningly beautiful, had one PhD and was on her way to a second. She was one of my inspirations for fast-tracking my degree.
Looking back, I realize that her Psych 101 class was a result of her age and her understanding of the fact that in high school we didn’t get ANY education into the practicalities of life. SHE gave us some of that much needed education.
In the first month we studied the psychology of learning. Basically how to ACE University tests without cheating. The next two months were about living … stress, anxiety, meditation, finding solutions to problems and how to get rid of “stinking thinking.”
All of her lessons stuck, but one that made a huge difference for me was:
How To Solve A Problem PERMANENTLY
You can solve the problem, once, or
You can solve the problem, again, or
Solve the ROOT of the problem, so that the problem never happens again.
You can ramp it up even further by ..
Solving the ESSENCE of the problem, so that it is hard (or impossible) to think about it as a problem that ever existed in your world.
Here’s how “Always Running Late For The Bus” was solved.
STATE the problem: I have a problem. I am always running late for the bus, often missing the bus.
State WHY it is a problem: Being late to classes or work gets me a lot of negative attention.
ANALYZE the problem and its possible reasons for being.
- consistently leave the house too late.
- I am not ready to leave the house on time (not being dressed)
- I have to look up the bus schedule and often can’t find the schedule.
- It’s freaking COLD outside, I have to find my coat. It’s raining outside, I have to find my umbrella.
- I don’t have change for the bus.
FIGURE OUT at least one solution for each of the points above.
- Set alarm clock for waking up earlier. Set alarm clock for leaving the house.
- Leave when the alarm clock rings, no matter what (naked even)
- Post the bus schedule by the door, with the times I usually leave highlighted
- Pay attention to tomorrow morning’s forecast and put out appropriate clothing
- Get rolls of quarters and have a dish of quarters right beside the door, and extras in every jacket pocket.
Start implementing the possible solutions. What works? What doesn’t.
IF it is not working, re-analyze the problem, you probably have NOT identified the real problem.
Over the period of a month I started adding each of the solutions into my daily routine. Yes the steps worked sometimes, but not all the time. I was still late enough times that it really annoyed the heck out of me.
I looked at the problem again. What was the ROOT or the ESSENCE?
It turned out that the ROOT of the problem was not allowing myself enough time. I tried several ways of solving the root until I discovered the ESSENCE and the permanent SOLUTION.
The final solution of my running late basically changed everything in my life. I was never late again for anything … the bus, appointments, meetings with friends ,because the solution … the essence was to ALWAYS BE EARLY.
My time target changed from being on time, to being early.
In other words, I can’t be LATE for the bus, because I am not aiming at the time the bus is “supposed” to arrive, I am there ahead of time. I am ALWAYS on time for meetings because I am ALWAYS there AHEAD of time. If I have an appointment for 10:00 AM I aim for 9:30 AM.
What was my solution to the “where the heck are the keys” problem?
I never have to LOOK for keys, because they are ALWAYS in the same exact same place all the time. AND there is a duplicate set in the same place, just in case someone borrows the first set.
MY key holder is inside the closet closest to the front (or back) door. Multiple people in your household? Multiple key holders, one for each person. Each person is responsible for their own key holder and NO borrowing!
Here’s a great looking holder, you could install by your front or back door!
Many years later, when I was getting my Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) certifications, I saw that many problems can be solved right to the ESSENCE, so much so that “my clients” not only couldn’t remember that they HAD the problem, they insisted that you were crazy to suggest they DID have the problem. This can be a big problem for a practitioner because your clients think you ae scamming them! The solution? Audio or Video tape them during their first session when they explained why they were there and what their problem was.
What drives YOU crazy?
If you want to find a solution, take the time to go through the process:
1. State the problem as clearly as you can.
2. State the consequences of having the problem.
3. Analyze the problem.
4. Create at least one solution to each variation of the problem.
5. Test and if necessary go back to stating the problem (you may not be focusing on the REAL problem).
6. Look for an even more elegant solution. Look to solve the ESSENCE so that the problem no longer EXISTS.
Try it on something small first and let us all know about your successes!
PS. If the problem is another person … you can’t use this process to CHANGE them. You CAN use the process to CHANGE yourself and your reaction to “what is driving you crazy about THEM.”