PROBLEMS cause stress and abnormal blood pressure. So it is very logical that once we reduce our problems, we should be able to reduce our stress and abnormality of blood pressure. Incidentally, we can’t eliminate problems unless we decide for the final exit – the very thought of this itself is very stressful!

Why do we have problems? Well, roughly speaking one third of our problems are there because we are alive and kicking; another one-third of our problems are created ourselves and the remaining one-third of our problems exist because of our laalach and izzat (greed and ego).

Now, if we have a magic wand, we can solve our problems. We search for one when none exists!

What to do? Well, I do not know it all, but I can tell you what I do?

Read again what I have said and you will realize that by merely understanding life and by reflecting on its problems, you will be able to reduce your problems in focus. It won’t be done instantly. Slowly but steadily, one by one, take care of each problem by looking for simple, simple ideas to arrive at solutions.

Remember not to make “best” the enemy of “better” To solve silly problems, even the second or third best solution can be good enough.

Let me give you my recent experience.  I returned from a 36 day vacation spent in USA with my son and his family. It was a once-in-a-lifetime vacation. On return, I found myself surrounded by thousands of problems – on many fronts – each causing me stress and strain. There were illnesses and deaths in the family, bills to pay, pending work, reminders, jet lag, and so on. Well, I did get dazed for a couple of days but soon regained my composure and started solving one problem at a time. On my mental screen, I projected the concept of an hourglass in which only one particle goes through at a time, and applied that to my problems; this way I was able to take care of ten to fifteen problems per day. And in a month, I cleared my backlog.

In particular, when too many problems are causing you enormous stress and strain, do the following:

  1. Think….there must be a better way to solve these problems. It helps to remember the crow and jug story! Recall similar stories and incidents.
  2. Ask, ask, ask….from yourself and from others, how to do things in better ways. Maybe certain things should not be done at all or should be clubbed with other activities! Don’t forget that even stupid questions will get you intelligent and commonsense answers.
  3. Do it now! Start doing it. Don’t forget that the first, step towards solving a problem is to begin. I agree that the first step is the most difficult one, but taking it will kill procrastination – a disease or a problem in itself. Of course, do not forget to prioritize your problems first. Those which are “C” category jobs should be delegated to others, but do not forget to check and re-check till these get done.

There is always a silver lining in any gloomy situation, provided you starve the problems and feed the opportunities. For every problem, there could be several solutions and solutions point towards opportunities. Columbus saw his silver lining in discovering the New World, when he was actually trying to discover a better trade route to India.

In my own case, I apply the MISER concept to solve my problems. MISER… where M stands for Merge, I for Improve, S for simplify, E for Eliminate and R for Reduce. MISER is an excellent conceptual sieve that helps in reducing many problems to a very few ones. It is applicable during working and non-working hours. In fact, housewives can also apply it successfully.

I strongly recommend you get going. Take the first step. Good luck.

Article by Promod Batra

Promod-Batra Photograph 31 Jul 14