by C Pratt
I didn't know what I was going to do and time was quickly running out.
I needed to find someone to take care of my two dogs, Barney and Molly, for a few days. The tough part was that it was going to be during a holiday weekend.
I think I must have called every single pet care place in the city. Of the few that actually answered their phone, they were full. The majority of the companies just didn't bother to return my messages.
At one particular company, I left three messages and it made me so mad that they were ignoring me. I felt like leaving them a nasty message about people that can't be bothered to return phone calls.
Instead, I decided to switch to a different technique which I learned from Walter Anderson's book, The Confidence Course: Seven Steps to Self-Fulfillment. It's simple to do. All you do is tell yourself:
Focus On Solutions
Walter suggests having this written in a number of different places so you have constant reminders throughout the day. It trains your brain to always be on the lookout for possible solutions no matter what you're dealing with.
It's a great technique because it instantly takes you out of the "woe is me" and "why does this always happen to me?" victim mentality. When you're in the victim mentality, you're stuck and can't do anything except feel bad. By simply getting your mind to focus on something you can do, you're now back in complete control because you're focused on how to move forwards.
So, I decided as a way to release the anger I felt at the company where I'd left so many messages, I would begin by focusing on solutions for companies that aren't able to respond to phone calls. I came up with three solutions that I thought were pretty good. They were so useful that I decided to send my ideas to the company that had frustrated me the most (I made sure it was a really nice, professional email. I left all my frustrations out of it as my goal was simply to be helpful.)
It definitely allowed me to detach from the negative emotions of feeling ignored, frustrated, and like a victim (things were being done to me). I then went back to searching for a solution for my current dog issue.
Much to my surprise, a few days later, the company emailed me back. They were thrilled with the suggestions! In appreciation they offered to take my dogs for me. Unfortunately, not on the weekend I needed but still, this was a solution to a problem I'd been anticipating occurring in a few weeks. So, I was happy.
If I'd simply gone with my original feelings of lashing out at them with an angry message, I would have just ended up feeling guilty about it later as well as hurting them for really no reason.
Also, when I learned the real reason they hadn't called back, I was so happy that I hadn't lashed out at them. Turns out that they have 15,000 current customers plus potential new clients all trying to book 200 available spaces. No wonder they aren't able to respond to voice messages!
It made sense once I knew. I knew it wasn't personal against me and they weren't ignoring me. They simply couldn't deal with the demand that had been placed upon them.
Usually, you'll find that with most things that annoy you, it's not personal against you. There's just a problem that needs a solution.
So, the next time you're feeling frustrated, tell yourself, "focus on solutions".
If you can do this, it turns it into sort of a game. What possible solutions can you come up with? You're now being active as opposed to passively accepting whatever happens to you.
It's simple techniques like this which will just make your life so much easier. Instead of feeling like you're trapped and frustrated, you realize you always have options and choices you can make.
For more really great techniques on how to easily change your life for the better, check out my book, "3 Questions That Will Change Your Life".
And, just in case, you're wondering what solution I came up with for the dog care issue, I ended up searching in other cities and finally was able to book them into a place that was located in the city I was going to be visiting. Luckily, I was driving so it would work. But, I definitely had to be open to any possible answer.
Focus on remedies, not faults - Jack Nicklaus