We’ve all had our share of problems in life, some more than others but problems none-the-less. If you’re anything like me, you eventually grow weary dealing with and finding solutions to unpleasant situations. Rather than win the lottery, some might opt to have all of their problems vanish, never to reappear again – to live a life void of those wretched issues that devour our precious time, drain us of our emotional reserves, and sabotage our peace and happiness. Yet is it conceivable to think we can live problem free? Actually yes, it is. Let me explain.
Life is a series of events and experiences we must participate in for a number of reasons: perhaps we need to learn a valuable life lesson or the experience may be a necessary step in our journey towards a particular goal. Events may be intended to test our determination. Others enable us to tap into hidden potential necessary for our personal growth. Still others may appear simply to reward us for past efforts. Those we welcome with open arms, for sure. The others not so much. In any event, each plays a valuable role in who we become and the path our life follows.
I think most would agree that life would be easier and more enjoyable without problems to clutter up our time and deplete our energy. What few realize is that problems only exist in the mind – they are not a reality but rather a label we assign to a perceived unpleasant situation. Consider this: my husband and I share a home together and each winter endure the same amount of snow as the other. It must be cleared from driveways, sidewalks, and porches for obvious reasons. For him it’s a problem, for me a form of exercise. Same event, different experience. It’s all a matter of perception plus the labels we place upon said incident.
Consider using the COLTS Method of Classification (5 alternatives) to instantly resolve any future or existing problems. Is the situation a:
1. Challenge: is this experience here to challenge you to learn something new or to push you to achieve greater goals? Like a runner training for a marathon, accept the challenge with determination and enthusiasm, knowing you will emerge a better person.
2. Opportunity: perhaps God is ending one chapter of your life and directing you on a new path. Have faith, trust in His judgment over your own. “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah
3. Lessons: we all need a wake-up call sometimes. A loss, setback or betrayal can often teach us more than any book or trained professional could. Appreciate the opportunity to learn.
4. Test: unexpected interruptions in our life are often testing us to enable us to determine how important something or someone is. Examine your priorities and values to ascertain what really matters. Eliminate or limit that which is secondary in worth.
5. Situation: some things just are, plain and simple. We needn’t assign a classification or emotion to every experience we have. “It is what it is” can serve us well.
Rest assured, I am not suggesting we deny or ignore the situation at hand. We must still address the issue but can now do so from an entirely different perspective, completely redefining what it is and how we allow it to impact us.
I cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it. However, by simply re labeling it, the problem disappears and I’m left with five other options – COLTS (which, by the way, are adorable baby horses and who can be upset with them?). I can maintain a positive attitude and transform a outwardly depressing situation into one that is innocuous. And that, my friends, makes my life a whole lot easier.
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