“In a best-case scenario, crises awakens our senses and clarifies our desires.” ~ Mel Abraham
Based on our last post, some of you may be thinking, “Well sure, Steve was twenty-something with no ‘real’ commitments or responsibilities. But I’m in my forties, and I have responsibilities toward my family and so making a significant change comes with greater challenge.”
And you’re right.
Circumstance and responsibility will directly impact how we view and potentially resolve a problem. However, it is important to remember that the 3 levels of problem will still be true no matter where on the road of life you find yourself today.
So for the fun of it, let’s pretend Steve is at a different stage in his life.
Steve is now in his mid forties, married with three kids who are all involved in sports and the performing arts. Presently, he has 12 years left on his mortgage, two car payments and a dog. Steve’s been working in the corporate world for over twenty years and he’s sick and tired of the cut-throat mentality and his one hour commute into the city every morning.
Over the last few months, he and two high school friends have been seriously tossing around the idea of starting up their own craft beer brewery and pub in their small town. Brewing craft beer at home is a long tradition of theirs and all three guys relish the idea of starting something of their own.
In this scenario, the universal themes found in the 3 levels of problem still exist in Steve’s life. But his circumstances and responsibilities are very different. And to be fair, these responsibilities will impact the way he views and works through his problem. Or, at least they should.
But the leading question still remains: What will Steve do? How will he choose to work through the existing external, internal and philosophical problem?
The reality is, Steve could be single, married, divorced, a widower, kids, no kids, big debt, no debt and the 3 levels of problem would still be present in his life. He could change jobs, get remarried, start a surfing school, or move to Bali, and, if not mindful, still experience the results of the 3 levels of problem.
Because the whole point of the External Problem is to manifest our Internal Problem. And ultimately, these first two levels of problem are focused on uncovering the key question that we’re all silently asking ourselves: Who am I?
Perhaps this is why C.S. Lewis wrote, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
The external problem in your life today is acting like a megaphone or amplifier to rouse your attention – to help you get-in-tune with your internal problem – so that you can embrace your full humanity and experience breakthrough results.
Whether it has been on your radar or not, “Who am I?” is the key question you are seeking to explore, answer, fight, resist or advocate in everything you do. And this is the heart of the matter when is comes to why we experience psychological pain.
If Steve, or anyone of us forgets this truth, we may quickly seek to escape from our present external problem (external environment) with the hope (wishful thinking) that our internal and philosophical problem (inner conflict) will go away.
And it may for a day, a week, or a month.
But it will return.
It will just find a new external problem that will once again manifest the two deeper levels of problem in our life. And the truth is, this cycle will continue until we choose to break it. This is how a problem can last a life time – they become part of our identity; part of who we believe ourselves to be.
So what about you. How will you best move forward with the problem you’re facing in your life today?
But before you answer this question, please remember: The secret to living a fulfilling life is to learn how to leverage your external problem into a catalyst for breakthrough results. In other words, it’s about creating a shift in perspective by allowing the problem to become your guide.
What if you could take any external problem in your life today and leverage it in order to discover your inner brilliance and personal strengths? What if you could take the limiting beliefs and self-sabotaging behaviors that your external problem uncovers and use this knowledge as a catalyst for crafting a compelling future?
What if this was, and is, possible for you?
If so, then a whole new worlds awaits.
Until next time…
Be You. Be Unitas.
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