Put a pin in the problems

The brain is a chaotic place

full of thoughts that trigger emotions

that can lead to actions and reactions

(or even a sort of paralysis of inaction)

Which is when it is a good time to sit


and place a pin in problems

create a crime scene

From which to begin to sketch a way forward

*Problems as creative opportunities. This sentence annoys me, yet it is true.

The thing with problems in the head is that they are difficult little beasts to get a grip on mentally. We begin to sort through the emotional thunderstorm in order to get to the solution. The “aha” moment.

But most things can’t be sorted out in a moment of insight – while they are still zooming around in the ephemeral space of the mind.

We have to land the plane to fix the problem. Mechanics cannot fly.

I awoke this morning with about fourteen problems floating in my head. Two of which were solved by a cup of coffee and beginning to write my problems down. It’s a rule now. I do not make deals and bargains in my head. I don’t do much work there at all. It’s an open plan nightmare. I do most of my problem solving on the page. It allows me to work through my emotions, get them out of the way and then begin to resolve any issues properly, clearly, sanely.

Some problems cease to become problems once they are fully thought through and the emotion removed. It is quite amazing to watch the process evolve on the page – and humbling.

As Taylor Swift sings “It’s me,I’m the problem it’s me”

Problems are a fact of life. Everyone encounters them but it is how we respond that makes all the difference.

Using the idea that these sometimes shocking and scary scenarios are opportunities for growth and creativity has taken me a while to come to terms with.

I have gone from a person who avoided them at all cost or worried endlessly over what might occur to someone I don’t even recognise (and am a little in awe of).

I created a simple matrix to sort of triage the issue as it appears and then sort it into doable chunks that move towards a solution. Since we are all in the same human boat with problems, I thought I would share

Is this thing your problem? Often times if we are empathetic individuals, we can take on other peoples problems as our own. Stop stealing their opportunities to be creative and grow. Stick to the things that are your problems to deal with.

“Not my circus not my monkeys“ excellent move on with your day.

This is my problem or at least part of it is. Right weed out the percentage that is yours alone to deal with and write it down.

I like to get clear on what sort of problem it is – is it work, is it relationship, is it something else. The more you can break a problem down into its separate parts and labels, the more you expose its layers. It may just get cold and naked and run away by itself.

Still there? Work on how you’re going to solve it. Who can you call to help? Is it something that is outside your area of expertise? Begin creating a pathway out of the problem, or through it. Don’t give yourself massive scary chunks of work to do. Break it into actionable steps.

Remember you have had lots of problems in your life and yet here you still are. Luckily and if caught early enough, most problems are not life threatening.

The earlier you can identify a problem, the easier it is to take out. Take them out before they grow. If you have a hunch or an intuition then make an appointment. You may well be on the end of good news. I have sweated through skin checks I was sure were going to turn up cancer that did not. And if they had of then I would have hopefully caught them when they were small and easily sorted.

Fix things when they first appear on the radar. There is a saying along the lines of “first God throws pebbles, then stones, then rocks, then boulders”. Like most proverbs it makes sense.

I know that viewing problems as creative opportunities is a stretch – my skeptic is waiting for that rubber band to come back and hit me. We can’t change reality by changing our mind. Actually we can. Our entire reality lives in our mind – so that’s the first place to tackle it, wrestle it to the ground, haul it out on the page and make it speak.

Once we have the scene and all the suspects outlined clearly, we begin to solve the crime. Detectives map it all out for a reason. Because crimes aren’t solved in the mind, they are solved on the white board, or in their notebooks.

Problems are crimes against our peace of mind and the sooner they are solved, the sooner we can return to equilibrium.

My two cents in what is becoming quite the creative week here at headquarters. Wishing you a peaceful day with no sirens.

2 thoughts on “Put a pin in the problems

  1. I use the not my circus quote alot to remind myself that I don’t have to take on the world’s problems. Lots of good ideas here!

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