I’ve got 99 jobs but a problem aint one.
I’ve shared a few little brain hacks in these blogs. I’ve got another one for you.
Never say the word ‘problem’ again.
I’ve been playing with this one for a while. I don’t like problems. They feel heavy. I don’t like the way they sit in my mind.
And so I’ve decided I don’t have problems any more.
I have jobs.
Words have an emotional association. That’s going to be different for everybody, but if you’re like me, there isn’t a nice emotional energy around the word ‘problem.’
It’s a heavy energy. It’s a twisted up and tangled energy. It’s a stressy energy.
And so when we label something as a ‘problem’ – we’re assigning it that energy.
Do you see what I mean? So say you say, “there’s problems in my marriage”. What you’re saying is that there are elements of your marriage that are heavy, tangled and stressy.
And maybe that’s ok, if that’s an accurate description of the things you are already feeling.
The trap we often fall into though is to label something as a problem that probably doesn’t need to be given that stressy energy.
So when you say, “I’ve got a problem with my modem.” Or, “There’s a problem with the lawn-mower.” Or “There’s a problem with my mortgage application.”
You probably don’t mean in this case that there’s a tangled, stressy energy around them. Or, you shouldn’t mean that. You just mean they’re glitchy.
But if you label them as a ‘problem’ then you’re giving them a heavy, stressy energy to carry. Call them a problem long enough, and they will soon take on those qualities in your mind.
That is, your language can turn things into a burden, when it really isn’t necessary.
But I get how it happens. We’ve created a culture of complaining. It’s much more common to be talking about your problems – your back pain, your selfish kids, your money story whatever – than it is to talk about how amazing your life is and how wildly grateful you are for everything.
(Yup. That’s what’s wrong with the world.)
Anyway, as I said, I’ve decided to not have problems any more. I have ‘jobs’.
‘Jobs’ can also feel a little heavy, but not in a way that I really mind. It’s not as light as ‘leisure time’, but it’s not bad either. Jobs are just stuff you have to do.
And so I started labelling things as a ‘job’ rather than as a ‘problem’.
So rather than “I’ve got a problem with my modem,” it’s “my modem needs a job.” It’s not, “There’s a problem with my mortgage application,” it’s “There’s a job I need to do for my mortgage application.”
Do you see the difference? Do ‘jobs’ feel lighter to you? It does to me, and now I don’t have problems anymore, my whole world feels a degree lighter.
But there’s another thing I noticed.
Problems don’t have any expectation that they’re going to be fixed. You can have a problem with your back for decades. Some problems can never be solved.
But jobs sort of exist in a state of readiness. They’re about to get done. They’re on the to-do list. They’re in action. The solution is implied.
And so when I say, “I have a job to do with my mortgage application” I’m putting myself in an action-based relationship to it. It’s there, waiting for me to make it happen.
And you have the upper hand over jobs. Jobs are things you do. The only question is when.
Problems, however, can loom over you. Maybe they’ll never be sorted. Maybe they’ll be the bane of your existence for the rest of your life.
So yeah, nah, no thanks. I don’t want to have problems any more.
I only have jobs – as I go lightly skipping through my to-do list.
It’s a cute little hack. But give it a go and let me know what you reckon.