Have you ever woken up in a bad mood? Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep, then you check email first thing and find an inbox full of tasks and problems. Or you watch the news and it sounds like everything is going to hell in a hand basket.
I’ve certainly had plenty of those days. And given the fact that I spend my professional career helping people solve some pretty complex and stressful legal problems, many of my clients and friends have plenty of tough days, too.
I want to suggest that you try to look at your tasks and problems differently, and see if it makes a difference in your mood. It’s worked well for me, and hopefully it will work well for you.
Ask yourself: Do you really expect to have no more problems at some point in your life? Do you really expect that you’ll wake up one morning with nothing on your to-do list? No issues to face?
Would you even want that?
Here’s the truth as I see it: Life is mostly about solving problems.
That will be true from the moment you become a thinking, conscious being to the moment you leave this Earth.
Whenever I find myself complaining to myself about all the things I have to do and all the problems I have to solve, I try to remind myself that I’m not thinking clearly and accurately. Problems and tasks aren’t anomalies. And we shouldn’t treat them as such.
No one in history has ever gotten rid of all their problems. Why should I expect not to have new problems to solve? That expectation is ridiculous. In fact, that expectation makes the problems worse.
It makes no sense to be surprised that you’ve got new problems to solve, basically every day. The scope and scale of your problems may vary, but the fact that you’ve got issues to face doesn’t.
Expect problems. Welcome them. Luggage gets lost, planes are late, people cut you off in traffic, the dry cleaner loses your favorite shirt, someone posts something on Facebook that makes you mad.
If you expect that you won’t have any problems, then your expectations will cause the problems to become even worse.
Or look at it this way. Think of life as a video game. Would you want to play a video game where you reached a certain level and had no challenges to face? No tasks to complete, no more work to do, no problems to face and solve? That would be the most boring video game in history.
Such is life. So enjoy it.