Three Kinds of Trouble
Author: Catherine Pulsifer, © 2017
One of our all-time favorite quotes on trouble is by Edward Everett Hale:
"Never bear more than one trouble at a time.
Some people bear three kinds -
all they have had,
all they have now,
and all they expect to have."
Our thoughts on these wise words stated by Mr. Hale are:
Think of your past troubles as lessons to help you with the challenges
you face now. Past troubles are those that have bothered you, those that required many actions but those actions did not resolve them, and those troubles that are beyond your control and you can do nothing about.
For example, you may have an annoying colleague at work that does nothing except continuously interrupts your work by talking about anything and everything and not a thing to do with work. You have tried several times to talk with him or her about their behavior and your requests for no interruptions works for a few hours but continues to persist thereafter. In essence, you cannot even appeal to your supervisor because the same thing just continues to happen despite the supervisorí occasional intervention. These are troubles that are in the past where actions have not resolved a thing.
Eliminate today's troubles and problems
by finding solutions, and then concentrate your energy on implementing those solutions.
Now, the troubles of today are in a different category altogether. These current issues are ones, by definition, that you must deal with in the present. However, let us define these issues a little more clearly by breaking these issues down into those that are within your control and those that are not. This means simply that those over which you can do absolutely nothing about must be discarded from the list because no amount of thinking will change the situation at all, and to keep spending time thinking about them is to waste your precious time.
At the same time, some of these current troubles may be no more than what falls into the category of worries. Worries are no more than thoughts or issues that are beyond your control but continue to occupy your thinking. Sometimes, these worries are legitimate; sometimes these worries are very minor; and, sometimes these worries are simply those ill-conceived thoughts without any grounding in reality.
Worries that are beyond your control and worries that constantly mire your thoughts in anguish are foolish. Why did I say foolish? The simple reason is that no amount of worry can accomplish, eradicate or alter anything. Worry is fact can't change one hair on your head so what makes you think that worrying is no different.
On the other hand, though, the troubles that you can influence or those over which you can control by taking focused and dedicated action are those to which your energies should be directed. And, let me tell you an important step yoou need to take to turn these so-called troubles into something less. The act of turning troubles into concerns frees up energy. It allow you to focus forward; that is, it allows you to move from being stuck in the trouble to move towards finding a solution.
As for the troubles of tomorrow, either completely forget them, or take whatever action is necessary to avoid them or minimize them. Without fail, I have spoken to a great percentage of people who focus more of their energy of what tomorrow might bring than focus their thoughts and energy on what can be done right now to help eliminate future concerns.
For example, one of the greatest concerns for those labeled as baby boomers is future financial issues. Part of these issues relate directly to whether they will have enough money to retire fully, or will they have to continue working to make ends meet. This particular future concern, however, is a concern that should be dealt with by devising a financial plan right now to eliminate the worry or concern. This may mean cutting back on discretionary spending right now, or selling a larger home and moving into a smaller home that is either totally paid off or has a much smaller mortgage payment.
It may mean that if you recognize that you either will have to continue working or wish to continue working, there may be a need to seek further education in your current position in order to meet the forthcoming requirements of the future or to seek retraining in another field of endeavour.
If you want to avoid trouble in your life, I need to tell you right now that it is impossible. When we go through life no matter who you are, trouble is there in many forms. You cannot hide from it nor can you closet yourself away.
Since trouble can be found around any corner, you must decide now how you will handle trouble. If you decide to just sit and complain, you will stay stuck in the same place; if you decide that you will turn trouble into a valued learning experience, and an experience that can help you through future difficulties, then you are on the right path. Part of the arsenal to handle future issues is the development of a sound strategy that can help you overcome almost any circumstance.
Part of this strategy, as mentioned earlier, is to redefine a trouble and turn it into a concern. By doing so, you have already started to win the game. In this strategy, you release your mind's energy to focus on a solution rather than letting your mind stay stuck on only seeing a problem without a solution.
The next step in this strategy is to understand that every issue or concern can be broken down into small bite size steps on your way to resolution. This means that you do not view or frame the concern as a huge mountain to overcome but, instead, view the concern as a series of small shovelfuls of dirt where the mountain is taken down or apart one shovel full at a time.
The next step in your strategy is to outline a plan of attack. For this part of the method to work you'll need to think like an Army General preparing for battle. So, what does this mean?
Well, think of a General who is assigned the task of defeating an enemy lodged securely within the confines of a small country. Obviously, the General would not send his combat soldiers or tanks, or planes into battle without giving them the order and process by which they should coordinate their attack. To do otherwise, is no different than embarking on a boat cruise to the other side of the ocean without a rudder.
What this means is this: take the necessary time to plan your own attack. Write down each step that you must complete and set a firm date by which you must accomplish this step. Each step should provide enough detail so that you know exactly what do to do and when to do it.
Remember the song, "Don't worry, be happy"? It is good advice!
And when you are facing trouble, always remember the wisdom said by Oliver Wendell Holmes,
"Trouble creates a capacity to handle it."
The poet, Edgar A Guest has written many poems. But, See It Through, is one of our favorites. Be encouraged by the wisdom in the verses. Let the thoughts remind you to never give up.
See It Through
By Edgar A. Guest
When you're up against a trouble,
Meet it squarely, face to face;
Lift your chin and set your shoulders,
Plant your feet and take a brace.
When it's vain to try to dodge it,
Do the best that you can do;
You may fail, but you may conquer,
See it through!
Black may be the clouds about you
And your future may seem grim,
But don't let your nerve desert you;
Keep yourself in fighting trim.
If the worst is bound to happen,
Spite of all that you can do,
Running from it will not save you,
See it through!
Even hope may seem but futile,
When with troubles you're beset,
But remember you are facing
Just what other men have met.
You may fail, but fall still fighting;
Don't give up, what've you do;
Eyes front, head high to the finish.
See it through!
Inspirational Quotes for Reflection:
"Real friendship is shown in times of trouble; prosperity is full of friends."
"Problems are the price of progress. Don't bring me anything but trouble. Good news weakens me."
Charles F. Kettering
"Stress can affect your personal life because you may often take irrational decisions and work against your plans. You should learn to deal with your stress to avoid any trouble, and this can be done in a better way by developing emotional intelligence."
Helen R. Johnson, Emotional Intelligence
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