Solving your biggest problem.

Where do I start?

Solving our biggest problems is like being faced with a bucket load of lego building blocks.

Being faced with a bucket of pieces means that there are so many options open to us, and so many different potential ways of putting together the pieces.

We know we have a problem, we know that we probably have  all of the pieces needed to put together a solution, but where do we start?

This isn’t a solution it is a question.

You may have thought from the title of this post that I was going to provide you with the magic bullet to solve your biggest problem. SORRY! There is no magic bullet.

This post is really about starting a conversation about solving your biggest problem.

The Question/s.

  • What is the biggest problem that you are currently facing?
  • How do you know it is a problem?
  • In the past when you have been faced with a problem, how have you decided where to start with the solution?
  • Where did you look for the solution to your problem?

Where do you put your answers?

I’d really appreciate it if you would put your answers in the comments, because I would like us to start a conversation around identifying a problem, looking for solutions, building the solution from the ground up and learning where people go looking for solutions to their problems. Sharing your answers to the questions will probably help someone else to solve a problem.

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Image by woodley wonderworks @flickr

How to choose your parachute!

Standing ready to jump at 20,000 feet

Thinking about doing something…… maybe starting your own blog, maybe starting your new business, maybe doing a new task. Does it feel like you are at 15-20,000 feet looking out of a plane and not sure if  it is time to step out or not!

Wondering if that package strapped to your back that they call a parachute is really going to open?

Going skydiving is in my bucket list….. but I have not taken that plunge yet!, and maybe in the back of my head it is because I am not really sure if I have faith in a sheet of material stopping me from going SPLAT!  But I do know how to choose a parachute… find out how below

The Inspiration

This post is inspired by a forum post over at the Third Tribe by Jorja ( I would give her some link love here, but Jorja is currently standing in the plane at 20,000 feet and contemplating taking the jump about launching her blog)

The Parachute that never fails

Jorja is a perfect example of how in life  we are often confronted with situations which feel like we might as well be standing in that plane contemplating the jump. The difference in life is we all have one parachute that WILL always open. That parachute is your community.

Why can I say this with conviction…. because it has been proven over and over again. The story behind how I got to doing this blog and the formation of the Samuel Morris Foundation are prime examples of a community rallying behind someone standing on the precipice and in every disaster we see communities rally around to support people who need assistance. Communities support people in a multitude of ways every day, more often than not in unseen and often unacknowledged ways.

There are many terrific examples in the blogosphere of communities supporting each other. I am part of a few communities out here in the interweb thingy…. where I really am still a complete newbie….BUT communities like the Third Tribe, that inspired by James at The Infopreneur, the community being supported by Sean D’Souza at 5000BC (via psychotactics) are full of amazing people who either directly or indirectly are having a significant influence on what I am doing, not just here at the blog, but in my other undertakings and in life in general.

Sometimes we can feel like we are all alone and that nobody really gets where we are at.  In reality we are all part of many communities, and those communities are full of people who are ready and willing to support you in growing and taking those chances that have you scared and wondering if you are really prepared to jump or not.

How do we choose our parachute?

We already have in many ways, our parachutes are our relationships with the people and places that we hang out with and in, they are the people and places that we have invested our time and energy in, they are the people and places who we have helped out in the past, and who may have helped us out in the past.

We are not limited to only those communities, as there are also many new communities like the ones mentioned above that are waiting for you to find them. These are communities of  people and places that are full of information and advice we need to help us succeed, and full of potential relationships that could change our lives forever.

Regardless of whether it is a community that we are already a part of, or a community of which we are wishing to become a member they are a community because they share desirable characteristics with us and if we spend time building relationships within those communities they make a parachute that is guaranteed never to fail us.

Who represents your parachute?

It would be great to share some examples of parachutes that have  prevented us from going SPLAT and created a soft landing for us. So let us know in the comments who represents your parachute.

image by Ian Plumb

What do you see, believe and do?

I read a lot, and find a lot of interesting material that floats around in the back of my head, and then comes out in all sorts of ways.

In my leisure reading I have been reading a series of books by crime fiction writer Michael Connelly. It is in one of his books that I found the seed for this post. He described an engraving that said…

Vision to See

Faith to Believe

Courage to Do

I had a rough outline for a post and then as part of my online reading I was at Ben’s site where there was an amazing quest post by Marc Winitz, and it caused a re-assessment of what I was going to write.

The Vision Thingy

Vision to see.

When most people think of the word vision, especially when they think of it in terms of self-development, they think in terms of goals, and where they are going.

They refer to the ability to see and define the possibilities of the future and set themselves on a path to reaching that goal. This is a valuable frame of reference that helps many people achieve a lot in life, but it is an external frame of reference.

What about vision from an internal, or inward looking perspective?

In this perspective vision is about seeing ourselves as we truly are. It means stripping away the layers of deception and the masks that we routinely present to the external world, and come to accept as ourselves.

It means negotiating yourself past that internal dialogue that is either full of bullshit and bravado about how good we are and over-estimates our abilities, or full of the other type of bullshit about how inadequate we are.

It means taking stock of the very core of who we are, without the baggage that has been built up over our life time. To get there we have to look closely and with great attention. We need to remain aware and awake to catch the thoughts that attempt to maintain the masks. We will be navigating across rough waters to see the calm and peaceful core that exists in all of us.

Keep the Faith

Faith to Believe

Belief means many things to many people. To some people it means their theological beliefs, most of which are some form of homage to an external deity, to others it means their self belief or ego. There have been challenges on this site before about examining our beliefs.

When discussing beliefs in terms of personal development people are again often focused on an external frame of reference that relies on a “belief” in our ability to take action and conquer our fears along the way to the goal set by our vision of our possible future.

What about our faith to believe from an internal perspective?

From an internal perspective the courage to believe is about the courage to maintain that watching vigil established by your internally focused vision.

It means having the faith that you will be able to find that calm and peaceful core and that you will be able maintain a connection with it no matter what those rough seas and foggy skies, internal dialogue and shifting masks of our minds might do to try to obscure the vision of it.


Courage to Do

Most discussion about courage in the self-development world is also externally focused. The discussion tends to revolve around our taking risks, our ability to get up and get things done, to take action towards the goals and future that our vision has defined.

What about courage to do from an internal perspective?

A recent post discussed how to be courageous that touched on the internal perspective of courage, but it extends further than this.

The courage to do in this perspective is about stillness not action. It is about having the courage to go looking, it means having the courage to battle those voices of bravado or doubt, it means having the courage to ask the questions necessary to defeat the false arguments put forward by those voices about why we don’t need to go looking or about why we are inadequate. It means having the courage to keep watch over our thoughts.

The courage to do is about being willing to see we you truly are, to believe in the value and nature of our core and to have the courage to sit with that truth no matter what the internal or external world may throw at us.

Are you willing to really see, believe and do?

Creative Commons images in this post by, Mike Licht and  CarbonNYC @flickr

Are you hurting yourself more than your enemy?

The buddha by rahlducca

“Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your  own unguarded thoughts” -Buddha

How much time do you spend with a million things going through your head, compared to how much time you experience an inner peace or a sense of flow in the task that you are undertaking?

For most people the ratio is probably pretty scary with their minds spinning. churning over thought after thought after thought far more often than experiencing that sense of flow or complete clarity.

When we have a moment of complete clarity or experience that sense of flow whilst engaged in a task what happens to us? That sense of clarity or flow is almost inevitably interrupted by another thought… and what type of thought is it.. usually a negative one, that completely shatters that sense of peace.

That one thought then leads us on to another and another (and a sense of frustration that the flow has been interrupted… leading to more negative thoughts).

Our thoughts have the power to do us harm or do us good.

Chris Brogan sparked off a conversation that reflected this with his post expressing his frustration at unrealistic expectations by some people he interacts with.

Chris had a really valid point to make, but what was really interesting was when Chris identified in the comments his fear of being thought of as an asshole if he was not meeting other peoples expectations for access to him.

Now Chris is regarded as guru in internet land. But in reality as much as people want access to him and he values their collective opinion, how much time does any one individual spend thinking about him during the scheme of their day?

Even if we are contemplating our worst enemy how much time do we think they spend thinking about us?  In reality we probably spend far more time being concerned about what they think of us, than they expend on thinking about us, so doing more harm to ourselves than they are to us.

The key to preventing our own thoughts from doing more harm to us than those of our enemies is to watch our own thoughts. Within each of our heads there is an angry person, an ill-natured person (yes admit it we all have that even though we are trying to be good all the time), a miser and liar (yes that is that little negative voice).

In the Dhammapada there is a quote that we should all apply to each of the “people” in our own minds first, and then to the outer world, but we can only do this by guarding our thoughts………

“Conquer the angry man by love, conquer the ill-natured man by goodness, conquer the miser with generosity, conquer the liar with truth”

How to be courageous


You remember the lion in the Wizard of Oz…… he was in search of courage, because he saw his fear as a weakness, he was timid, BUT he wanted to ROAR…..

The Lion had to go on a long and adventurous trip with Dorothy to meet the Wizard of Oz to ultimately find his courage.

When he meets the Wizard of Oz (depending on which book/movie version you remember) he is given a drink labeled courage, or a medal labeled courage that emboldens him.

I’m sure you don’t want to go on a trip with as many twists and turns as that legendary journey in order to find your courage (or heart, or whatever else it is you are looking for). So is there another way to find your courage?

What is courage?

Courage is defined as the state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear or vicissitudes with self possession, confidence and resolution.

Did the Lion possess these things all along without knowing it? Of course he did. If you remember the story there are a lot of things that the Lion does long the way that show courage (even if he is inwardly fearful whilst doing them).

Far too often we see courage disguised in public discourse as bravery. It is spoken of  in terms of those (hopefully) once in a lifetime instances where someone has to face and overcome a life threatening event were someone is required to do something they did not think that they were capable of.

I remember a quote about this from a fire chief  (I can’t find the original source) that said:

“Bravery is a single act often over in seconds, courage is putting on the uniform every day knowing what you may be called upon to do”

Those moments of bravery are what people often mean when they talk about courage, but what  the lion, and most of us, do not understand is that

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying “I will try again tomorrow” (Maryanne Radmacher)

What the Lion ultimately realised is that the courage that the Wizard of Oz gave him was only temporary, and that in reality he had the courage within him all along.

Like the Lion each of us has within us the courage to do what needs to be done (even if doing it scares the living hell out of us). Often it is an element of self doubt that prevents us from exercising our courage and stops us from trying again tomorrow.

So how do you be courageous?

I will let author and publisher William Feather tell you;

“here is the secret of inspiration: Tell yourself that thousands and tens of thousands of people, not very intelligent and certainly no more intelligent than the rest of us, have mastered problems as difficult as those that now baffle you”

and when it is put like that…… do you need to roar, or can you quietly whisper to yourself “I will try again tomorrow”?