For whatever problem you have, one thing that is true is that it has three in built ‘trapdoors’. These trapdoors will take you out of your problem….and straight into your solution.
Each and every problem that you have has these three trap-doors. Using one or more of these trap doors allows you to escape your problem and find a solution.
In the clinic, helping clients find these trap-doors and use them allows them to escape anxiety, fears, phobias, bad habits, addictions and depression.
Perhaps you can try them for yourself.
Trapdoor 1: Exceptions
Problems become all-consuming as we focus on them. They consume our attention and seem to be everywhere, and in everything. Regardless of the situation, there will ALWAYS be a time or place where your problem does not exist. Often this is in a place where you do things that you love – perhaps in a sport, a craft, on holiday, socialising. If you can find the exception, you could consider how that exception could apply at a time the problem exists.
If it is not always a problem, what is it really?
Trapdoor 2: Evidence
It takes little to ‘convince’ ourselves that the problem is real and powerful. We will find ‘evidence’ everywhere for our problem. However, we are often very quick to dismiss any evidence that we are doing something that is NOT our problem.
The rule from cognitive science is 3:1. That is, we would need three pieces of evidence that something is not a problem to match one piece of evidence that the problem still exists. It is easy to find the one, and difficult to see the three.
What if you could pay attention (and accept) evidence contrary to your problem? What if you could imagine three pieces of evidence. Seek and ye shall find!
If you could find three pieces of evidence contrary to your problem, what would that mean about what your problem was?
Trapdoor 3: Expectation
If you consider your problem, does it come with a positive or a negative expectation about the future?
Normally, problems come laden with negative expectations – that is, people consider their future is going to be full of negative (bad) events based on their problem. The expectation that the problem is going to continue and have a negative impact sets the person up to get what they focus on – more negative outcomes.
However the future is not written. If you had a problem now, but managed to have a positive expectation about the future, what would that mean about what your problem was then?
Using the trapdoors:
The trapdoor within your problems leads to solutions. Are you ready to give yours a test?
OK, think about your problem. Really get in touch with how it feels, what you see or hear when you are in it.
Now consider the trapdoors.
What is the exception in your life to the problem? As you consider that, how does that redefine what your problem was?
What is the evidence that you have something other than your problem? As you consider and accept at least three things that would prove you were other than the problem, what would that mean your problem was?
If you were to consider that the future is different to the past, what would a positive expectation mean that the problem has become? And if you looked back at now from when your positive expectation was a reality, what would you have done to the problem?
And as you consider these, you can think about any number of possibilities that would be a great solution for you now. Which one will you now take forward?
I would love to hear how you got on with this exercise. What did you discover, what has changed?