Mindsets to solve life’s problems
Here are some simple mindsets to cultivate. Others such as radical acceptance, total surrender, complete non-resistance, are for advanced practitioners.
1. Realise that our lives are not and will never be in our total control.
2. Realise that there is no such thing as a problem-free life. Slowly and gradually accept this design of life and drop the expectation that life should be smooth and easy.
3. Realise that we cannot change other people’s perspectives and mindsets.
4. Do your best. That is within your control
5. Have Plan B ready
6. Do not take thoughts too seriously. Thought attacks come and go and they can be intimidating. Realize that you are not a thought.
7. Keep away from obnoxious people to the extent possible
8. Realise that we will never be mature enough to deal with all of life’s challenges. There will always be some situations that are overwhelming
9. Take guidance from wiser people. They bring in a different perspective to the problem which you cannot see.
10. Believe in destiny. It is a great consolation, especially during times of loss.
11. Consider whether your expectations are realistic. Unrealistic expectations are a major cause of misery.
12. Perfectionists will perceive more problems than non-perfectionists. Expect perfection from yourself, not from others.
13. Give tasks only if the other person has the capacity to execute them
14. Allow for mistakes and wastages. They will keep happening
15. Allow for wrong judgments and predictions. They are not done deliberately
16. Allow for forgetfulness. Our memories are not perfect. Write things down
17. Don’t suppress emotions. Release them, at least in private
18. Look back at the past only to learn lessons
19. Practice slowing down.
20. Practice reframing the problem. You will see it in a different light.
21. Train yourself to think of long-term consequences. Never seek quick fixes and short-term solutions.
22. Don’t fight with people who are more powerful than you
23. Don’t expect life to be always fair and just. It is not designed to be so.
24. Gradually train yourself to be assertive
25. Cultivate a solution mindset. Be fascinated with solutions.
26. Imagine five years from now how you will perceive the current problem
27. Don’t decide or act when emotional or upset or weak
28. Increase your energy levels. With higher energy, it is easier to deal with challenges
29. List out all current and likely problems that may arise in the future and devise solutions of how you are going to deal with each one of them. Otherwise, you will be caught by surprise. Preparation is winning half the battle
30. Remember that what works for others may not work for you. Solutions have to be tailor-made depending on your personality and background
31. Catch yourself when complaining. The complaining mind depletes energy and creates a negative mindset.
32. Practice writing down the problem as well as the solution instead of only thinking about them. New ideas will crop up when writing. An action plan that is written down and discussed has more power.
33. Remember that the mind will magnify the problem out of proportion. To see it from the proper perspective you will need to discuss it with a person who is not involved with the problem
34. The mind will create panic and be in a rush to solve the problem. It wants to get rid of the problem as soon as possible. Don’t succumb to this urge. Take your time. Solutions come slowly, over days.
35. Blind spots will prevent us from seeing the problem holistically. We cannot see our blind spots. Ask someone to review your solutions
36. Cognitive biases will distort our perceptions. Factor those biases while seeking a solution.
37. Keep a diary of all problems encountered and how they were resolved. They will be a reference for the future.
38. A few weeks after resolving an issue look back and see if you could have solved it differently. This will train the mind to come up with new solutions
39. Read up on how others have solved their life problems. Their situations may be different but there could be something that we could use. We can always learn from other people’s experiences
40. Examine your skill levels while tackling problems. Discover what new skills that you need to cultivate to solve such problems more effectively in the future. Problems that cause suffering reveal to us what we need to cultivate
41. The fear of making wrong choices will make us procrastinate. When in fear, always take help.
42. The mind will try to escape from difficult situations. That is its nature. It will refuse to think about it. It wants life to be smooth and pleasurable. It will create formidable resistance. When this happens have a long conversation with your mind. It is generally amenable to long conversations
43. Conduct thought experiments with imaginary problems and how you would solve them. This will train the mind to be solution-oriented.
44. Catch the blaming mind in action. This mindset will deplete energy that should be used in solving the problem. The blaming mind wants scapegoats.
45. Similarly, the bemoaning mind, lamenting mind, and the mind that says ’this should not have happened’ are all energy dissipators. Training the mind not to be distracted but to be focused on the solution to the problem is of paramount importance.
46. We may have to live with insoluble problems like chronic illnesses that have no cure. That requires the cultivation of a mindset in itself. It will take time to come to terms with such situations, but it has to be done for long-term peace of mind.
47. Problems come in the form of thoughts. If we stop thinking we will have no problems. We need to practice being in a state of no-thought for a few minutes every day. The mind needs rest from incessant thinking.
48. There are problems we will inevitably have to face after retirement and in old age. We should not wait until they happen, but start preparations much in advance. For instance0, reduced sugar intake should begin at an early age. Lifestyle changes become more difficult to make as we grow older.
49. Some people don’t like the word ‘problem’. Then don’t use it. Use another word for it. Or never use it but describe the issue at hand. For example. Instead of saying ‘I have a problem with my son’ you could say ‘my son refuses to study’. Instead of ‘ I have a health problem’ say ‘My sugar levels are high”. Describe what the problem is without using the word problem.
50. Keep using the word ‘solution’ often. Let the mind resonate with that word.