Titles like the one for this blogpost make me cringe. Over the last decade, I’ve become calloused to solutions that present themselves as a silver bullet. But you can rest assured that this small offering of text I am sacrificing to the internet gods is not going to attempt to do anything of the sort. But what it will do is offer you a framework that can make even life’s biggest obstacles seem manageable. Let me explain myself.
I am a massive fan of getting kids involved in extracurricular activities. I don’t care if its sports, theater, horseback riding, music lessons, or something else - I think that they are all great. Why? Because they are a vehicle to teach kids lessons that are going to stick with them for the rest of their lives. I played sports growing up, but my favorite hobby was music. It consumed me. I loved playing and practicing my guitar, singing, writing songs, performing, and playing in bands with my friends.
One day, I was learning a challenging part of new song and was having trouble mastering it. I started to get frustrated and almost set down my guitar, but instead, I asked myself this simple question - “what am I doing wrong?” It is such a simple question, but it is so powerful! To understand the answer to that question, I broke the passage down note by note so that I could identify and understand the mistake I was making. Then once I was able to identify the error, I asked myself, “how do I fix it?“ Approaching my challenge this way was revolutionary! Before this, when I was learning something difficult, I would easily get overwhelmed with it and move on to a part that I could play. This approach led to mediocrity and not mastery, though.
Since I discovered these two powerful questions, I’ve begun applying them to every area of my life,
not just music, with great success. Life’s challenges can seem so overwhelming sometimes. It is so easy to get lost in the details of our problems, so much so that we don’t ever really deal with them. What I love about these questions, though, is that they help us problem solve and troubleshoot whatever challenge we are facing by breaking the issues down into smaller chunks. They give us a framework that helps us understand the problem so we can effectively deal with it.
So next time you find yourself in a challenging situation, ask yourself these two questions:
“What am I doing wrong?” or “What is the problem that I am facing?“ and “How do I fix it?”
I know it sounds simple. I know it sounds like common sense, but give it a try. Trust me.