Self Development

Achieve Your Goals By Getting Bigger Than Your Problems



In the playground near where I grew up was a construction we called “stepping stones”. It consisted of a series of progressively taller, cylindrical columns which served as steps leading to an ‘island’ with a tree growing at its apex. When I was growing up those stones seemed huge and I recall struggling to reach the top steps. However, when I visited the playground years later as a teenager, the same stepping stones appeared small and almost trivial. The stones hadn’t changed size; I had. The stepping stones are for me a great metaphor for dealing with life’s problems – grow bigger than them.

People often shun problems in their quest for an ‘easy’ life. Unfortunately, this approach generally backfires because the nature of life is that is that we will experience problems or challenges as I like to call them. The solution therefore is to devise a strategy for dealing with problems as they arise rather than trying to avoid them.

It’s like working through a puzzle book. You start off with the easy puzzles which you whiz through, building your confidence and developing your skills before moving onto the more complex puzzles. While these take longer to complete, the level of satisfaction you feel tends to reflect the level of complexity of the puzzle – the tougher the puzzle; the greater your satisfaction.

When striving towards a particular goal learn to anticipate the various challenges that might arise. Dan Kennedy’s strategy is to prepare negative but think positive. In other words, create your own simulator from which you can view your problem from every angle. Regard your problem dispassionately and objectively and ask the questions that will lead you to possible solutions. Then work through those possible solutions to determine the best solution for your particular situation.

To achieve great success you must be prepared to deal with big problems. The person who gets ahead in life, who achieves phenomenal success is the person who has identified a problem, its solution and knows how to market that solution to those who want it.Problems = Opportunities = Wealth

Know that life will not present you with a problem that you are not equipped to handle. True you may have to stretch yourself a little but that’s all part of the game. Problems help you to grow and to deal with them we have been blessed with a super computer more powerful than any other computer on this planet – our mind. Okay, so our creator had a sense of humour and didn’t give us a manual, despite this our comprehension of how our mind works is continually increasing. It is estimated that we are only tapping into a small fraction of our mind’s potential and yet look at what we can achieve.

No problem can withstand the onslaught of persistent thought. Take the iconic 7 star Burj Al Arab in Dubai described as a place where “imagination meets reality”. This impressive structure, 321 metres tall, is the tallest hotel in the world. The design was inspired by the billowing sail of a dhow and so the architect, Tom Wills-Wright, wanted the hotel to appear as though it was rising out of the sea. This would require an island to be constructed for the hotel and, at the time of its construction, this presented numerous challenges to the engineers.

In fact, they strongly resisted the idea of building a private island for the hotel. However, Wills-Wright was adamant that, to create the desired effect and fulfil the brief given to them by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum that this was the only solution. The Sheikh, a man who lets nothing stand in the way of his vision agreed.

The engineers overcame the challenges that this presented but there were numerous others throughout the construction including the challenge of building, transporting and erecting those sweeping arches that give the Burj Al Arab its unique shape. Many of the lessons learnt on this project fed into even even more ingenious and innovative construction projects in Dubai such as The Palm Island trilogy and The World.

What goal are you shying away from because it seems too enormous, too complex or too challenging. As Robert Allen says “no thought resides in your head rent-free” so instead of thinking of reasons why something cannot be achieved ask yourself:

“How can I achieve my goal?”

And keep on asking until you find the answer.


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