How To Deal With Difficulties and Problems In Your Life [With 10 Simple Processes To Follow]


How To Deal With Difficulties and Problems In Your Life, challenges, problems, solutions, mindset, life, help, obstacles

Image by macrovector on Freepik

How To Deal With Difficulties and Problems In Your Life

We all go through stages in out lives where we feel like we have hit a roadblock - some problem or challenge that we just don't know the solution for.

It can feel frustrating and hopeless, like this problem is too difficult to overcome...

But, it isn't.

You see, challenges are a part of life - it's how we grow as individuals. You will never be faced with a challenge that you do not have the ability to overcome, but each new problem simply requires us to develop a new way of thinking - it requires us to build up our mental tool kit.

As Einstein once said, "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them".

Life Is A Staircase

I have a little analogy I like to liken life to - it is to see life like a stair case, with each step representing the next level that we are trying to get to.

In order to get to that next level, we need to overcome some sort of problem or challenge...

We need to adapt our thinking - add new tools to our "mental tool kit".

Until we overcome the problem or challenge that we are facing, then you will never get ahead in life, and no matter how you keep trying to put the problem off, or sidestep it, you will keep coming up against the same issue time and time again until you solve it.

This can be in the form of having to learn a particular skill, learning how to hold down your relationships, or a big one I see a lot of people struggle with - how to manage their finances...

How can you expect to ever be successful and rich if you can't manage what you have at the minute?

Instinctively, we already know what these challenges are that we need to overcome - it's the things that scare us. The things that when we think about them, our minds get filled full of dread at the thought of having to do it, so we try to forget about it, make excuses for why we can't do it, or think of something else we HAVE to do at that very instant...

Classic procrastination right there!

Look for the things that scare you and tackle them head on - take on the challenges that will get you to that next step, that next level in life.

I guess, thinking about it, that this probably ties in with Maslow's hierarchy of needs, in that the order of the challenges you face on each step.

That is to say, you will first have to overcome challenges related to the bottom level of needs before moving onto the next one - the steps then are sort of steps up Maslow's pyramid..... this is great stuff, you heard it here first people :)

If you are thinking, who the hell is this Maslow dude and what has he got to do with the problems in my life - let me explain...

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow was an American psychologist who is best known for his theory of human motivation, known as Maslow's hierarchy of needs. 

Maslow was born in 1908 in Brooklyn, New York and received his Bachelor's degree in psychology from City College of New York in 1930. He went on to earn his Master's degree from Columbia University and his PhD from the University of Wisconsin.

Throughout his career, Maslow was interested in understanding what motivates human behavior and how people can reach their full potential. 

In 1943, he published a paper outlining his theory of human motivation, which became known as Maslow's hierarchy of needs. 

According to Maslow, human needs are arranged in a hierarchy, with the most basic needs at the bottom and the more complex needs at the top. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is still widely taught and discussed in psychology and management courses today.

The five levels of Maslow's hierarchy are:

1. Physiological needs

These are the most basic and fundamental needs that must be met in order to survive, such as food, water, and shelter.

2. Safety needs

Once basic physiological needs are met, people seek to feel safe and secure. This includes things like personal security, financial stability, and health.

3. Belonging and love needs

Once safety needs are met, people seek to feel a sense of belonging and connection with others. This includes friendships, romantic relationships, and family relationships.

4. Esteem needs

At this level, people seek to feel confident and competent. This includes things like self-esteem, respect from others, and accomplishment.

5. Self-actualization

At the top of the hierarchy, people seek to fulfill their potential and find meaning in life. This includes personal growth, creativity, and self-expression.

Maslow's hierarchy of needs is often depicted as a pyramid, with the lower levels representing the basic needs that must be met before people can move on to the higher levels. 

It's important to note that Maslow's hierarchy is not a fixed, rigid structure, and people may not necessarily progress through the levels in a linear fashion. The order of the needs and the importance of each level may vary from person to person.

Maslow, problems, challenges, life, solutions, how to deal with problems, solutions for life's challenges

So, now we understand that problems are just a part of life, and we shouldn't feel depressed or disheartened that we are facing challenges in life...

Instead, we now feel excited because, as we know what the challenge is that we need to overcome, we can now look to solve it and get to the next level in life!

But wait... we still need to overcome the problem, right? So how do we go about facing new challenges?

Your Mental Tool Kit

If you wanted to fix something, you would likely need a particular tool or set of tools for that particular job, right?

For example, a mechanic might use a spanner and a socket set, a carpenter a hammer and nails, and an electrician a soldering iron and a wire crimper. 

Any situation you find yourself in is the same - you need a certain tool set to navigate through it or fix it.... 

But these tools aren't hammers and nails, they are thought processes - the ability to think objectively about a situation, break it down and follow a process to resolve it.  

Most people get to a stage in life where they don't have the right mental tool set to deal with a situation they face, and so they shy away from it as they don't know how to deal with it and they don't want to look silly. 

This prevents them from growing and advancing to the next level, and they will continue to face the same problem over and over again until they finally overcome it and move to the next thing. 

So, when you face a problem that you don't know how to solve, first acknowledge that you need new skills or knowledge to solve it (that's OK!) and take action to plug the gap - be it educating yourself, or seeking help from someone who does have the skill set.

life's problems, challenges, how to overcome difficulties in life's, life issues, mindset, tool kit, difficulties
The truth is, in the modern age of information - you can find advice on how to deal with difficulties or problems in a matter of seconds... 

You just need to get past the road block of feeling frustrated because you don't already know what to do (which is probably where you are if you are reading this I suspect), and put in the effort to gain the extra skills or knowledge you need to get past the challenge you face.

Here are some techniques you can use...

10 Simple Processes for Dealing with Difficulties and Problems in your Life

Here are some processes for overcoming difficulties and problems in life:

1. Take a break - Use the STOP process

Sometimes, taking a step back and giving yourself a break can help you recharge and approach the problem with a fresh perspective.

S: Stop and take a deep breath
T: Think about the situation and what you want to achieve
O: Options for how you can respond or solve the problem
P: Pick the best option and take action

2. Seek support 

Lean on friends, family, or a mentor to help you work through your challenges. It can be helpful to talk through your problems with someone who is objective and can offer a different perspective, particularly someone skilled at what you are trying to achieve, if it is a skill or experience based problem.

3. Check your goals

Having specific, achievable goals can help you stay focused and motivated. Break large goals into smaller, more manageable steps to make them easier to achieve. Are you trying to tackle something that is too large, or not even aligned with your goals?

Try breaking the problem down further and tackling it piece by piece.

4. Stay positive and use perspective

It can be difficult, but try to stay positive and focus on the things in your life that are going well. Also ask yourself, is the problem you are facing really THAT important?  If you made a wrong decision, what's the worst that can happen, and will you even remember the problem a few years from now?

5. Flip the problem

Instead of trying to figure out the best course of action to take, sometimes it can be easier (and more fun) to figure out the worst possible actions you could take - then, when you no what not to do, you can just do the opposite!

6. The 5 Why's

This mental model involves asking "why" five times in order to identify the root cause of a problem. By repeatedly asking "why," you can drill down to the underlying issue that is causing the problem.

7. The Pareto principle

The Pareto principle suggests that a small number of factors (usually around 20%) tend to be responsible for the majority (80%) of the outcomes or results. By focusing on the most impactful factors, you can often make the biggest difference in solving a problem.

What part of your problem can you focus on which will make the most difference?

8. Cause and effect

This involves identifying the cause of a problem and the effect it has on the situation. By understanding the cause and effect relationship, you can identify potential solutions that address the root cause of the problem.

This can be for first order (immediate) effects or can be taken further to consider second order effects, which would be to say you would consider the effect of the effect of your cause or action.

9. The problem-solving cycle

This is a six-step process for problem-solving - define the problem, generate potential solutions, evaluate the solutions, choose the best solution, implement the solution, and review the results. 

By following this cycle, you can systematically work through problems and find effective solutions.

10. Apply Leverage

When looking at a large problem, consider how you might apply leverage to your advantage to overcome it. Can you get others to help? Source investment? Use available media to increase your reach? Create an automated programme to assist you?

Always consider your options for leverage so you can have the biggest impact with the smallest time, effort and cost input.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you gained some ideas from this post of how to think around your current challenges, or at the very least you have come to realise that it is normal to have problems.

No matter who you are in life, whether you are homeless living on the streets, or a billionaire living in a mansion - you will have problems, they will just be different ones since you will be on a different step of the staircase of life.

That being said, if you are really struggling to cope and feeling hopeless, I would encourage you to seek professional help - don't struggle alone.


Popular Posts