You notice in our society we reserve the word "problem" for the worst, most troubling kind of thing. It's like somebody walks home and they have been listening to the radio and they say, "Hey, have you heard about Tiger Woods?"
"He's got real problems."
"Oh, my gosh."
"His life is threatened by real problems now."
And so "problem" is the word we use when people encounter the most dire, horrible circumstances.
So no wonder I feel tightness in my chest whenever my mind believes it has a PROBLEM.
Notice how, in our society, we call the worst things "problems." "How is the government?" "It has integrity problems." "How is John Edwards?" "He's got problems." "How is your brother?" "He's got problems, I don't know if he'll ever survive them."
I don't want to think that way.
Because the truth about problems is that problems are actually good for us.
Let's say your child is in math class and you go in at the start of the year for its open house and the parents are meeting the teacher and the teacher says to you, "We're going to give your boy more problems this year to solve than last year's class had. We've got it set up so that this year's children will be working a lot more math problems and solving twice as many problems before the year is over than last year's math class solved. We're able to do this because of the computer system we now have and some new teaching methods so your child will emerge as being much better (more masterful) than last year's or any previous class because of this new problems-enhanced program we have."
Now if you are a parent you are thinking "Hey, that's terrific. I love that. That sounds great. Did you hear that, Hon? Our kid's going to work more problems by the end of the semester."
So when our child has "problems" to solve at school -we think it's great because we know from a distance that problems are good for people.
Problems actually build skill levels up. We know that. They make us strong! Self-reliant!
Problem-solving turns us into more self-confident people.
So perhaps replacing the word "problem" is a really important step toward building a fearless and creative life. Problems are good for us but we don't really know that anymore because of the emotional baggage we've attached to the word "problem."
So we want to quickly take that negative emotional charge out of the word and redefine the situation as a project.
Staring at my PROBLEM I am depressed. Working on my PROJECT I am excited.
When my songwriting partner Fred Knipe and I wrote a song called "I Can't Get To You From Here" we, of course, never knew if anyone outside of our families would ever hear it. We created the song anyway. We didn't think about the approval of others, we could not afford to, because that would have stopped the creation of the song.
Now more than 46,000 people have watched the YouTube version of the song which you can see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AzrljQ0Euto
On April 10, 2010 I will be giving a LIVE seminar on CREATING YOUR FUTURE in Phoenix at the Airport Hilton....Club Fearless members get in free and because it only takes a monthly payment of $19 to be in Club Fearless some folks have figured out that it is smarter to join the club than to pay $300 at the door. Some people have done the math.
My seminar will identify the two kinds of people in the world, creators and reactors. Creators create their day based on a compelling, irresistible future. Reactors are reacting to the opinions of others all day.
Creators are always to be found in the middle of another bold creative move while reactors are on the phone reporting another travesty or injustice they have just suffered.
Creators create their futures by what they do today. Reactors are obsessed with talking about the immediate unfortunate past. The best future a reactor ever produced was simply a bandaged-up version of the past.
Fearlessness and creativity are the same thing. Children are all creative. Then society convinces them to have a life based on worry and fear and doubt. They are taught to cultivate an absolutely huge obsession with other people's opinion of them and other people's treatment of them. They spend their precious time trying to win the approval of others. They are the reactors. For them, the future is never created.
For them the future is something they dread.
They dread what might happen. That's how their precious, divine minds are used: they are biocomputers used to dread with.
I was one. A reactor. Big time. I was sick, ruined, bankrupt, addicted to drugs and alcohol, lying to everyone I knew, especially the ones closest to me. A life of fear and more fear. The best I could ever feel, on my best day, was just worried. I was okay with being worried. It was better than being flat-out terrified. But the terror would always return. And the honeymoon of constant worry never lasted.
My life was saved by a recovery program.
Then, from there, I had the stunning privilege of learning to live free. I never knew how before. I found teachers. I found books. I found friends who were learning the same thing. I found a mentor.
I found creativity.
I work with people now who are learning to create their own futures. I coach them. People call it life coaching, and that's just a handy term. Who knows what really happens when two people work with each other to create a future?
Now my work is also to take my subscription Club Fearless to the whole world so that the whole world can learn to form stunning, compelling visions and then start creating. Which is to say they start acting courageously, because it's the same thing ... this thing we know as courage and this thing we call creativity.
If I was born in the image of my Creator then I know what my job is, it is to create. It's that simple.
If, on the other hand, I was born in the image of my destroyer, then my job is to react. To figure out how to please people and react to everything they say to me. To worry constantly about how to win their approval.
(Until the worrying finally, totally, destroys me.)
That's when I want to talk to my Destroyer. "Why," I ask him desperately, “are you leading me down this path of constant people-pleasing? Why am I on this quest for total approval? Because the more approval I win the worse I feel."
What I got in my spiritual recovery was that winning the approval of other people is a descent into cowardice as a man. It's the act of going pathetic in the face of circumstance. Surrendering my own power to the judgment of my superiors, who would be just about everybody. Such activity had me despising myself and hating others. So how can it be the good thing everybody recommends so strongly? I can't tell you how many well-meaning people tried to get me to read books on how to win friends and influence people.
If you look at me today I will be doing one of two things the moment you look at me. I'll either be creating my future or reacting to my past. One activity leads to strength and happiness and the other leads to worry.
But I'm so lucky now to see that choice. I am so lucky that God granted me the courage to change the things I can.