When we look at many aspects of our lives, our instinctive reaction is to pay attention to the deficits of the situation, to focus on what’s wrong. When you ask people, “What is the most effective way to solve a problem?” 83 percent say, “Find out what is wrong and fix it.” This “Deficit Attention Disorder” merely serves to amplify problems rather than resolve them.
A more productive and positive approach looks like this:
1. Define the problem as objectively as possible. Leave out any judgments. Simply state the facts as if a video camera were replaying the issue to you.
2. Because attention amplifies everything, focusing on the source of the problem will inevitably make it worse. Detach yourself from the problem. You are not fixing it; the problem is simply showing you something.
3. Change follows the line of your questioning. Instead of asking, “What’s wrong?” ask, “What does it look like when it’s working?”
4. Define three steps that you can take to shift the situation toward the imagined future that your question helped you create. This is the best use of your energy. Ensure the steps allow you to use identified strengths or will help you create strong-moments.
5. Look for evidence that your steps are having the intended result. Keep asking “What’s working?” and focus on further expanding the success of your intent. The problem will shrivel.
When problems do occur, don’t analyze them, break them down and ruminate over their meaning. They don’t mean anything. They just are. Shift your focus to what working looks and feels like and then dedicate your energy to manifesting that. Problems don’t magically disappear, but they do transform when you focus attention on generating a positive vision.
Source: mindtools.com, 2010