When we have a problem, we are constantly looking for a solution to that problem.  The difficulty with that is that energy flows where attention goes – so if we’re not careful we can end up having all our energy sucked up in experiencing the problem, rather than looking for a solution.

When you have something wrong – whether it’s a physical sickness, or depression, or whatever you are focused on the problem.  But that makes it grow even bigger in our minds, and sometimes in our bodies as well.  If other people know about the problem, they are also focused on it and so the whole issue snowballs.  The other aspect of this is that sometimes we get attention from other people because of our problems.  That’s called secondary gain.  Your problem attracts attention, so you go around telling people that you want to solve it, but you’re not really looking for a solution at all – or at least, not after the first few days, because you like the attention it brings you.

Another issue is called a double bind –  you’ve probably experienced this sometime (I know I have!)  We enjoy complaining about our problem, but it also gives us a reason not have the thing we want.   Like if I don’t have the confidence to ask for business, but I also don’t really want to ask for business because I think that would be pushy, that’s a great double bind.

We’ve all been taught things that aren’t necessarily helpful or even true, but they shape the way we react and they tie us up in knots.  It might be that you were taught that it was rude to ask personal questions – so you really want to know what’s going on in someone’s life, because you’ve hear rumours or seen things that make you concerned for them, but you truly believe it would be rude and prying to ask.  So you say nothing, but you still want to know – or you do ask and feel embarrassed, as though you were eavesdropping.

Let me give you an actual example – I had a client who was in direct selling and she came into the office to do a process called Time Line Therapy™ which is about letting go of negative emotions from the unconscious level and it’s a process that takes as little as 2 minutes for most people to let go of a major negative emotion – we do it for anger, sadness, fear and guilt.  So this lady comes in and we let go of anger perfectly, we let go of sadness perfectly, we got to fear – and we always ask the unconscious mind for permission to let go of the emotion.  So I said,  “Okay, so is it okay for your unconscious mind to let go of the negative emotion of fear today and for you to be aware of it consciously?” and she said, “No.”

So I reframed and said, “I want to remind your unconscious mind that its highest prime directive is to preserve your body and keep it safe and so holding on to this negative emotion is actually not in line with its highest prime directive.  So, knowing that, would it be okay for your unconscious mind to support us in letting go of the fear today and for you to be aware of it consciously, knowing that we can keep the learning and let go of the negative emotion.” And she said, “No.”

I was pretty curious about this, because this is the first time that this had happened to me – most of the time, with a bit of a refrain to the unconscious mind it loosens it up and they say,”Yes.”

So I said, “Well, could you ask your unconscious mind why? Just tell me the first thing that comes up.”

And she replies, “Because if I let go of the fear then I won’t have an excuse.”

Ka-ching! Secondary gain!  It’s a lot easier for people to accept you saying you’re afraid to make a cold call.  They’ll accept that because fear is an acceptable excuse and then people will feel sorry for her and make excuses for her.  Whereas if she says, “I don’t want to do it” which is what it was really about, people will say “Don’t be lazy, get over it.”  So by having that excuse or hiding behind the fear I can be okay with the fact that I don’t want to do what I should do and what I have to do.

Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) teaches us that our unconscious mind wants clear direction.  What could be a clearer direction than focusing your thoughts on something day-in, day-out?  And if all your friends and relations are also focused on that thing then you really do have a problem!  Maybe that’s why our forebears didn’t talk about their problems – and perhaps the idea of a stiff upper lip has its advantages – as long as we can channel our thoughts as well!

The challenge is really to find a healthy solution to the problem of energy flowing where attention goes.

Here’s the simple steps I teach my clients:

  1. Acknowledge the problem, name it, and recognise how big it is (or not) – as long as you pretend it doesn’t exist you can’t deal with it effectively;
  2. State clearly to yourself (and anyone else you talk to) that you are looking for a solution, and set a (short) timeline for action;
  3. Don’t talk about your problem, talk about potential solutions and acknowledge your deadline to anyone who asks;
  4. When your deadline comes, take the first step towards the best solution you have – it’s easier to guide a moving ship than one that’s dead in the water.
  5. Find something positive in your life and focus on making that even better.

If you take those simple steps you’ll find that although they take discipline, they don’t absorb your energy completely and the end result is that you still have energy to get on with your other responsibilities which means you’re not making the problem worse by letting other areas of your life get out of hand.

Meta Description:  Problems need solutions, but we need to be careful not to give them too much attention or we’ll be consumed by them because energy flows where attention goes and the last thing you want is to put all your energy into a problem.

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By popular demand we have turned many of our multi-day workshops into multi-week online courses with a live day to kick them off. Learn more at https://businessgrowth.mykajabi.com/masteryoursales

“I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison


Are you exasperated because you feel like you tried everything and it still seems like nothing works? Perhaps you have exhausted your resources and have sought advice from experts but your great idea just won’t take off?

I often say that the best success comes from small actions applied consistently, which is why I encourage you to keep going even when you think you have ‘tried’ it all.

Take Thomas Edison’s example as quoted about and adopt the mindset and persistence that created his success.

Here’s my strategy for persistence:

  • Remove failure from your vocabulary. There is no such thing, there’s only feedback. The only failure is the failure to continue to take action.
  • Take into account the changing scenarios, implement the learning of the last attempt and keep going.
  • Commit to doing NOT thinking about doing.
  • Ask for help, the person who has accomplished has tips on what they did wrong and may be willing to save you the trouble by sharing their experience.
  • Ask Quality Questions of yourself and others. Listen to the responses and take action on what you discovered.
  • Learn the right time to take action. Sometimes in-action on certain things is the right time of action.

In Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) teaching and coaching we draw on this presupposition “that there is no failure only feedback” we find it empowers us to keep on the pursuit of success for the road is paved with obstacles and the best way to conquer them is to take the feedback and keep pushing.

So view the setbacks as temporary, decide on your next step and do it!

Are you the type of person who have a started several projects and have left them unfinished because of a glitch or two? Well, it’s the start of a brand new year. And it’s time to change your ways.

Discover new ways to do things. It’s what keeps the world turning.

Discover new concepts in NLP. Enter your details here to receive a free gift and info pack for our next NLP Practitioner Training. Get it here or email support@lifepuzzle.com.au with GIFT in the subject line.

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By popular demand we have turned many of our multi-day workshops into multi-week online courses with a live day to kick them off. Learn more at https://businessgrowth.mykajabi.com/masteryoursales

Most people in my community may be surprised to know that I am not a huge fan of “positive thinking. Before you get too carried away, let me tell you how I think about this and where it takes me. If I have a “positive thinking mindset”, I might say something along the lines of … “I really want to be well and I’m really healthy.” This is great IF I am healthy and well, on the other hand if someone suffering with some kind of major disease that has lots of physiological symptoms says that, it might be bring on some conflicts at the unconscious level.


I believe that when you are ‘thinking positively” or doing affirmations about something you don’t really believe, you set yourself up for a lot of fake realization and or disappointments. Basically, thinking positively has no value when the “itty-bitty-shitty committee” is sitting on your shoulder and saying things like… “Well, that’s really not very true!” especially if the person is faced with this symptomology on a daily basis.

This thinking was sparked by a conversation with a prospect when we sat down to have a chat about some of the challenges he had been experiencing in his life.

There happened to be a glass of water on the table. He said to me, “You know, I am a glass half-full kind of person and I’ve been reading a book about positive affirmations and positive thinking which frames the idea of the glass being half full rather than half empty.”

I was thinking about what he said and came to a really, really interesting realization. At that moment I replied, “It doesn’t really matter whether the glass is half full or half empty because in reality sometimes the glass IS half empty.” That started me thinking about the notion of half full and half empty and whether it is valid?

Suddenly I realised it doesn’t really matter whether the glass is half full or half empty. The important this is what you do with the information.” Maybe you’ve received some news that you’re not excited about that you have to swallow. Perhaps, you’ve experienced a sense of loss, and maybe there is NO positive re-frame for you as you process the grief of losing someone who was very special to you.

If you find that the glass IS half empty, the most important thing to consider is what are you telling yourself about the fact that it is half empty? And what is your ability to the respond to the fact that some of those circumstances are beyond your control?

So, the question is not necessarily whether the glass is half full or half empty. It’s actually a question of whether or not you can face the fact that it is empty.
What actions will you take today or tomorrow that will make a difference in terms of how you deal with the fact that it’s half empty?

Here’s my 3 tips for approaching a half empty glass:-

Ask myself how do I want it? This changes my state of mind to moving toward a good outcome and in the absence of focusing on the problem I may see a solution I didn’t see before.
What can I learn from the situation that will assist me or others in the future? Commit these ideas to paper.
Write it down without attempting to make sense of it. (Free associated writing) Carl Jung believed that when our unconscious mind communicated or made conscious a problem that it would cease to exist. In doing free associated writing you can sometimes make realisations you wouldn’t have by analysing/just thinking about the problem.

Finally, in order to have a new glass with new content, sometimes you have to tip it upside-down, wash it out and fill it up again with some new, fresh, clean water.

Be well and Be Empowered!

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By popular demand we have turned many of our multi-day workshops into multi-week online courses with a live day to kick them off. Learn more at https://businessgrowth.mykajabi.com/masteryoursales


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