What to do when you don’t know what to do?
Sometimes living hurts, and when life confronts us with
problems with which we don’t know what to do, it hurts even
more. We only improve by figuring things out.
That we feel bad in the midst of demanding conditions is
natural. There is nothing wrong, and there is no conspiracy
on the part of life, God, nature, or reality. Pain plays an
important role in life. It is life’s way of getting our
Aside from getting us to attend to what is happening right
now, it goads us into making decisions that we would not
make were it not for the attention getting pain.
When we don’t know what to do we strive to acquire the
knowledge that demands and enables us to change. Granted
that change may be more difficult for some than others, and
to those for which it is very difficult we often hear the
claim that “change is easier said than done”. The fact, is
that everything is easier said than done!
Pain gets our attention and we say “ouch!” (where we may
cry, sulk, rant, rave, get angry and more). With it comes
the opportunity to experience the full range of emotions.
Interestingly enough everyone’s emotional journey gets
resolved at their own rate. So have your emotions, name the
pain that comes from the problem, and move through it. With
ouch being said and emotions running their course, know that
continued moaning, groaning, crying and complaining doesn’t
The pain of grief from loss of a loved one is probably the
one exception to the following comments. The pain that comes
from grief and loss is unique and deserves special
Other than grief, we must be discerning as to how we handle
challenges. First distinguish between a problem and an
inconvenience. Wake up, focus on real problems. Complaining
about inconveniences is a sign of immaturity. When it comes
to real problems, and we deal with them, we grow and move
Not feeling like dealing with problems is no excuse from
dealing with them. Feelings can be misleading. Feelings,
however, never tell us what to do, only that something
requires our attention.
No one likes to feel uncomfortable, but is it ever the case
that we better ourselves when we’re feeling comfortable? To
get with the program, sometimes we have to experience
discomfort! Feelings are nature’s security alarm.
Pay attention and then sort out the facts. Ask, “What’s the
case?” Next, consider the skills and techniques that must be
applied to handle this. If you have them, use them. If not,
acquire them If that won’t do, get a professional to help.
Design a process for thinking things through. We are
frequently blinded by our beliefs, feelings and emotions.
You may want to solicit the perspective of a credible
observer. Ask questions and write out your answers. Get into
an environment of rich resources. Read books, listen to
tapes, take seminars, classes, get coaching, instruction or
therapy if needed. Get with people who think, feel and
believe “there’s a better way, a solution!”
Look at what works and consider some new approaches. Take
the initiative, and know that… “If it is to be, it is up
to me”… is true. In some situations, some ask, “Why should
“I” go first.
Why should I be the one to change? You change because only
you can delve into the problems and challenges that life
places in your path. The control for you is in you and not
“out there” somewhere.
When and if you say you have a problem due to “them” you
have put the responsibility for resolution of the problem
and change in a place where you have very little if any
control. Others are on the hook for handling their own
challenges. You are responsible for your response to our
Only by working with the gifts that resides in you, can you
improve, change and control you experience. Nothing changes
your experience until you change! You have resources, time
and ability and no problem is bigger than you are.
Finally, understand that isolation is your enemy. Get with
others, and be persistent at being about figuring things
out, and remember, when it comes to people, you will only be
as successful as those with whom you surround yourself. Get
with good people!
by John Alston