Since I was a young teenager I have had this habit of collecting quotes. Whenever I heard a saying from someone that struck me as inspirational or touched me in some way I would write it down on a notecard and either tape it to my wall or place it in my journal (that’s right, I kept a journal).As an adult this habit has continued for me only now, since times have changed, I save each quote in my computer. One of the quotes that I heard a few years ago is:
Focusing on problems leads us to the past . . . focusing on problems leads to blame, excuses and justifications. It’s complicated and slow and often drains our mental
energy. Focusing on solutions, however, immediately creates energy in our minds.
At the time when I was first introduced to this quote, I was just beginning to wrap my mind around the differences between the solution focused way of working and the more problem focused therapies (I am still wrapping my mind around this by the way). This quote has stuck with from that time. In fact, I show this quote in just about every workshop and lecture that I do because of how relevant it was to my understanding solution focused practice.
It is clear to me when people talk with me during sessions about the solutions they are hoping to experience there is a different level of creativity being used. Even in my personal life, when I notice myself thinking about possibilities my mental energy is enhanced as opposed to getting bogged down with problems. This enhanced creative energy in my thinking and changes everything about a given situation.
In truth, I am thankful everyday for being introduced to the Solution Focused Approach. It was a way of working with clients that completely fit with my personality and set me on the path to accomplishing more of my professional goals than I could have ever dreamed. However, this is not what I am most thankful for. I am most appreciative for what this way of thinking has done for me personally. There was once a time in my life when I struggled with anxiety and depression and the type of negative thinking that forced me to think this world was a horrible place. Well, I no longer think in this way. I no longer pay much attention to the negative part of things; this new perspective has opened me up for opportunities and wonderful experiences that in times previously I would have never dreamed of.
It seems that we use problems as a warm blanket. Somehow, if we understand more about the problem we will be comforted. This is wrong and usually simply just interferes with our ability to solve the problem, perhaps better said, to create a solution. I am so glad I have found a new blanket.