This morning it took me a long time to get into work mode. Maybe the whole pizza and bottle of red last night had a bit of influence on my slack-ness. I came to my office later than normal (10 AM) and cheerfully started my day by jotting down a cool idea on my whiteboard. I wiped away small tasks from the To-Do-List in no time (despite the wine).
And then I get a mail which tells me in the typical formal Swiss letter style (that they took over into email writing) that one of my business plans will NOT work out in the way I wanted. The writer gives me the facts only plus a suggestion what I can do. I was disappointed. Then I reflected. Maybe this extra challenge was built in so that I find a better solution.
We Germans (and the Swiss Germans have perfected this art) tend to think and speak in a „this will not work“ manner. We often explain why certain ways will not work but usually fail to offer an alternative or a solution. I have fallen into this trap many times myself and believe it can be frustrating for people with other cultural attitudes.
While it is acceptable to be negative or pessimistic once in a while I learnt that the „this will not work“ manner stops your brain from thinking about solutions.
First step: Ask your brain an open ended question
In other words when you have a problem you would like to solve you need to give your brain a task to work on while you are sleeping, ironing or cleaning. One example would be to ask your brain „How am I going to pay those bills?“ instead of saying „I am never going to be able to pay those bills.“
Second step: Write down all solutions that came to your mind during ironing
The next morning or after ironing your shirts you take a white sheet of paper and jot down all the solutions that came to your mind (Please note. „Suicide is not an acceptable solution.“).
Third step: You forget what you have written and look at it with a fresh eye
After a few hours of working on another task you look at your solutions again. You can highlight the ones that seem easy to achieve and start with those. Then you devise a plan for every week and work off that plan until you have solved your issue.
What if your pessimist breaks through?
The German inside of me sometimes is still hesitant, miserable and wants to ponder on the problems (even though the original problem has disappeared through above mentioned 3-Step-Plan). I am giving this pessimist a bit of room. I allow it inside my home. I show this pessimist some achievements and I allow the pessimist to write down all of her wishes in a booklet. If that does not help I order pizza and wine. Just like „groundhog day“.
What is your recurring challenge or limitation?
Please share your experience with the 3-Step-Plan.