Focus Inward and You’ll Find the Solutions to Your Problems
Simple ways to find answers in and by yourself
Welcome to your life, the place where new obstacles keep emerging.
You want answers and solutions. But where are they?
Right there. In yourself. Focus inward and you’ll find them.
Here’s how I do it.
Since I read “The Secret Life of You: How a bit of alone time can change your life, relationships, and maybe the world” by Kerry Sackville, I’ve been trying to solve my big, small, and medium-sized problems by spending more time alone with my thoughts.
I go for a run without my phone.
I wash the dishes without earphones.
I drive without music.
I lie on my couch staring at the ceiling.
I try not to look for more input, more advice, or more tips on how to solve a problem I have. Instead, I shut out the outside noise and listen to my thoughts. Doing this has helped me realize that I often already know what solution to adopt, or at least I already know what feels like the right solution.
But it’s hard to find answers with all that constant noise coming from the outside world. A podcast is noise. A video is noise. A book is noise. A conversation with a friend is noise. This very article is nothing but more noise. Shut it all out and tune in with yourself. Quietly listen to your inner voice and solutions will be likely to emerge.
I’m not saying you should never again turn to podcasts, books, and YouTube videos in your life. I’m a podcaster, writer, and noisy content creator myself so no, I’m not saying that. I’m not saying you should never ask a friend for help either. You’d be a fool if you did that.
What I am saying is that, though you’re not used to it anymore, alone time might be all you need to come up with a creative thought that will get you unstuck and help you move forward.
The Buddha found enlightenment by sitting under a tree alone with his thoughts for seven weeks. You may find a solution to whatever problem you have right now by sitting in your kitchen alone with your thoughts for 15 minutes.
(For more on this, read “The Secret Life of You” by Kerri Sackville.)
Unload your mind
When you have a problem, your mind gets busy with questions, doubts, and worries. Those thoughts are heavy on your brain so don’t leave them up there in your head. Unload your mind. Write thoughts down or speak them out.
I have a preference for having conversations aloud with myself. Here’s an example:
Me: So, Fabio, what worries you?
Also me (while driving): I have no idea who I should target my content to. I’m confused.
Me: What would make things clearer?
Me: I guess everything would be clearer if I asked my followers what content they would like to see.
Me: Good. So why don’t you ask them then?
Me: Hmm, OK, I’ll do a survey today.
Engaging in self-dialogue helps me release what’s going on in my head. It helps me hear my thoughts, find connections between them, and come up with answers to my problems. I find asking myself questions and answering them especially helpful.
This brings me to my last point.
Use self-coaching questions
When I feel stuck, the most frequent question racing around in my head is How can I solve this problem? and the most immediate answer to this is often I don’t know.
Here are 3 questions that help me come up with a better answer than that:
- What would [name of a wise person I know] reply if I asked them to find a solution to my problem?
- What would I say if I knew?
- You’re saying you don’t know the answer. But what you’re really saying is you don’t know the perfect answer. Can you just find an approximate answer?
I then go for a walk (without my phone) and try to answer these questions. So far I’ve never come home without a new thought or idea on how to overcome a problem.
Asking questions, by the way, is what a coach would do if you hired one to help you. I have nothing against coaches. But I wonder: could you learn some basic self-coaching skills and find guidance by yourself before spending $$$ on a coaching program?
I think you could.
Here are some great questions you can ask yourself when times get tough.
We can’t always solve our problems by ourselves. There are times when we need help from someone who can see things from the outside, someone who’s not directly affected by the problem we have, or someone who found a solution to the same problem we’re having right now.
But wouldn’t it be great to become a more independent problem-solver? Wouldn’t it be great to be our own coaches? Imagine how empowering that would be. You can make that happen by turning your focus inward.
Spending more time alone with your thoughts, unloading your mind, and learning some basic self-coaching skills are some simple ways to do that.
I hope you’ll try them out.
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