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You Can Only Solve Your Problems if You Can See Your Problems

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problem solving
Image Credit: Twenty20.com

Last month I got a call from a friend who was dealing with a whole slew of problems. His business was slowing down, he ran out of money, his wife left him along with his eight-year old daughter and he started drinking again. This situation seemed insurmountable. He’d spent the last few weeks alone in the dark recesses of his mind in an empty house.

On that call, I could feel he was at rock bottom, so I talked to him as a friend, not a pseudo psychologist. Then I shared with him a method I developed years ago to help clarify, face and solve my own problems.

What I’ve found over the years is that when a problem plagues me, it is much less painful when I can clear away all the crap in front of it such as the noise of unidentified emotions and thoughts surrounding it. I call it The Boxing Method, and since it worked for me, I started sharing it with others.

Here are the 3 steps to my method:

1. Draw the boxes

Grab a sheet of paper and draw 3 boxes horizontally, on the same level and of the same size to ensure one is not more meaningful than the other. Next, on top of each box, label them with the following words, in no particular order: Work, family and happiness.

The boxes are merely repositories for those thoughts (i.e. the noise and emotions) that come to mind when thinking about the problem we are confronted with. This gives the thoughts a home, and by doing so, enables us to turn off the noise surrounding the problem itself.

“A broken bone can heal, but the wound a word opens can fester forever.” – Jessamyn West

2. Start writing the words and thoughts

Write any word(s), no matter how illogical, that immediately comes to mind when thinking about the problem. As they come to you, write them in the most appropriate box.

For instance, when I was doing this with my buddy, the first words out of his mouth were “wife left me” and “I’m a loser.” In fact, he spit out 23 others before we were done. We slotted each into the appropriate box. For example, “Wife left me” went into the family box, while “I’m a loser” went into the happiness box.

You don’t need to get it perfect, so don’t overthink this as perfection is far from the end goal here. When finished, if you end up with an empty box, excellent. An empty box is just as meaningful as a box filled to the brim.

WARNING: As these words come to mind, you may start to doubt them, and feel stupid and embarrassed. The words you’re using may not seem to mean anything, however they are the noise and chaos we are looking to rid from our minds. Ignore it all and visualize yourself simply as a scribe for your mind.

3. Let it marinate

Once you’re done, step away from your work of art, and leave it for at least a day. When your mind is ready, it will pull you back to it. This happened to me recently when I was “Boxing” a problem I had last month. It sat for over two weeks on my bookshelf in my office, until, I laid remembered it was there, and I got back to work on it.

Boxing issues is a huge part of the journey to success in solving a problem. Your mind takes the simple exercise of boxing and begins to work on it as the chaos and noise clears. The cobwebs are pulled down and now you can see the door in front of you.

Find your mental key

Now it’s time to fashion the mental key to unlock the door and enter. The key to solving your problem was probably there all along, and it was just clouded by meaningless thoughts and emotions. I’m happy to say my buddy has opened a few doors since we last spoke. His wife is moving back in and he just landed a couple new clients. With the boxing method, he was to see his problems for what they truly are.

“Don’t let mental blocks control you. Set yourself free. Confront your fear and turn the mental blocks into building blocks.” – Dr. Roopleen

What do you think of The Boxing Method I have created? Would love to hear your thoughts below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Jay Lieberman is the host of the Conejo Valley Advice Givers Podcast Show, co-author of the Value-Driven Approach To Sell Real Estate, and co-founder of the charitable giving group Impact Club Conejo Valley. Jay writes various articles and shares personal stories centered around simplifying the challenges of daily life, calming the noise in our heads, and methods of clear thinking. He also holds various board and committee memberships in his local community relating to education, youth programs, and in the real estate industry. He graduated from University of California at Irvine in 1992 with a degree in Psychology, graduated from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles in 1995, and currently runs a real estate brokerage team and is managing partner at a real estate law firm in Los Angeles, CA. You can reach Jay on Facebook or through his website.

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