Sometimes overcoming challenges is easy – and sometimes less so. A great strategy for taking control of challenges is to do the absolute opposite of trying to get rid of it and instead study the skills you need and use in order to create it.

Forget about getting rid of problems. There is infact a school of thinking that believes that problems never really go away – you simply learn to behave as if they no longer exist as your thinking evolves.

Instead of getting rid of problems and overcoming challenges, become an authority in them. Be the Master Practitioner of your problem.

When you start to get really good at knowing how you do the problem for maximum effect, the first thing that happens is you start to acknowledge how you drive the problem, instead of having it driving you. When you are at the mercy of your problems it can feel disempowering and cause feelings of weakness or being out of control. When you learn how you drive the problem you have the choice to drive it in a different direction or to stop it entirely.

Another important element to observing how you ‘do’ your problems is that in order to notice your own behaviour and reactions you momentarily have to step outside of yourself to witness what you do. This means that you stop doing your problem, cease to experience your challenge and for a short span of time, stop being you and instead become the all seeing observer.

When you witness yourself recreating your challenge in the specific ways in which you do it, you begin to dissect it. When something is dissected, it is often difficult to reassemble it to its former working condition. Oh dear, did you just pull your problem to pieces and break it?

Let’s be clear, becoming an authority is about thoroughly knowing the specifics about how you do what you do and not why. Don’t become an authority on why because that will just be your lame justification for having it and hanging on to it. Know how, so that you can learn, unpick and break your strategy.

Recently I attended a counselling talk and the counsellor mentioned she used to run an OCD group. Everyone in the group was still successfully obsessive and compulsive and the counsellor had been surprised to discover that all the group did was fan each others flames about why they felt they had OCD and how bad their symptoms were and why they couldn’t get over it. That is very different to ‘How do you do it? What are the specific thoughts you have to think, the things you have to focus on, what do you need to say to yourself and how must you say it ‘(not why!) Why only tells you the ideas that exist already (which are not getting rid of the problem, or else it would have gone on it’s own already!) Whereas ‘how’ gets you external and more importantly, outside of the system that is running the problem.

When you become an authority on your problem, you can develop the skills to support others who might otherwise feel totally alone and freakish. In looking at how others do problems, you can’t not begin to consider how they might begin to overcome them. When you teach others how to overcome their challenges you get borrowing benefits as you are also teaching yourself.

By Gemma Bailey