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This question comes from Victor, and Victor says, “Doug I’ve got a question that might be a great highlight for the Daily Growth Hacks. What problems or questions deserve our attention? I mean, how do we distinguish which aspects of our life we should be paying attention to, and which ones are a waste of time, money and energy?”

Victor, this is a great question and thank you for submitting it. Now there’s a lot of follow-up questions I’d want to know, like how do you define the problem? Is this a problem that you’re having internally or something that you feel someone’s bringing on to you? And what kinds of problems are these? So there’s a variety of questions.

Whenever a problem occurs, you’ve got to remember to couple things. One, there’s always three solutions to a problem. There’s not just one, two, or you know, there’s always at least three to come to through it. Now how do you determine which ones deserve your attention? Well, obviously some problems are immediate, right, so some problems that come to you right away that could affect your health. Those are things that you want to address right away. But the filter that I would use when an issue comes up, is I would put it into one of four categories. This is something that’s urgent and important. This is something that’s urgent and not important. This is something that’s not urgent and important. This is something that’s not urgent and not important.

Now this four-segment quadrant I got from Stephen Covey and I still use it today. He wrote it in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Oftentimes what we do as humans are we work in the urgent and not important category. This is often answering emails, these are problems that come up with friends that might come up, the drama in their lives. What we want to be focusing on Victor, with these problems are, those things that are important but not urgent, so if we can stay in that category there’s a sense of calmness that comes through you, and a sense of being able to achieve your goals at a higher level and really working towards those bigger goals that you’ve set for yourself.

With that said, and you may be talking about problems and questions that come up in your life. Like what are those problems or questions that really deserve addressing? That’s a great question, that’s going to be very individualistic, so in other words, what I would like that for the filter is do these problems or solutions, one is are they immediate? In other words, are these fires that I have to put out right now? And what happens if I don’t do anything with it? Now if I don’t do anything with a problem and it still stays there, it doesn’t really affect me or my loved ones, I’m almost likely not deal with it. Not in the sense that I’m avoiding it, but in the sense that it’s not really a problem, right? It’s just something that I’m creating within inside myself.

Now if something comes up and it’s a problem that comes up into my life and it’s something that, it’s more of a philosophical question, kind of like a career question or what do I want to do, or things of this issue, or maybe it’s a relationship issue. What I’ll do is I’ll actually set aside, set time to think about this. So what I’ll do is I’ll grab a journal, I love journals because the act of writing it out, that physical act of writing something out, there’s a brain connection. A kinesthetic connection that helps you release some of this creative energy. It really just works. So writing out the question. What is the question? And then write out what’s really going on, like what really is happening here? Now relationship issues and problems with relationships, very rarely are actually the issue at hand. It’s something else, and often times it triggers something from the past. So that’s what I want to figure out. Get to the root of the problem. What’s really happening here? And what needs to be addressed?

What needs to be addressed right now in this moment? What, this actually is just drama you just need to get away from. That’s the first step I would take, is journaling that out. And then thinking, “Hey, does this problem, or issue or question, does this affect my life? Does this affect my life currently? Or does this affect my future life as being the author of my own story?” For example, I don’t have enough money to pay bills. That’s a problem. That’s an immediate problem only if, you know, your family’s going to get evicted, things are going to happen, just adverse effects to you. Now if you can’t pay your bills, there are also other solutions. You can reduce your expenses. You can negotiate with creditors. You can find alternatives to paying bills. You can work more, you can get another job. There’s all kinds of solutions that turn that problem into a situation or just something that you’re dealing with on your day to day basis.

Now again, Victor, without knowing exactly what problems and questions, because this is pretty vague, to answer for you, I’m trying to give you the best solution of how I would address that. Now we’ll do the same thing with questions. Now questions come up all the time, and I love thought-provoking questions. That’s why at the end of these Daily Growth Hacks I always recommend you sharing them with at least three people because then you’re having conversations that matter. In fact, I actually seek out questions in my life and question my own belief systems on a regular basis. And again, I do this through journaling. So what I would do is write out the question, and I would write out what it would mean to me. So if the question is, “Should I stay here in Bend, Oregon where I am and use this as my jump off spot for all the adventures my family and I go on?” Now, this is something I can write out and I want to look at a pros and cons list. I like traditional pros and cons. What are the pros of me staying here and using Bend, Oregon as my home base? And then what are the cons?

You know, with the Author of Your Own Story lifestyle, I can live anywhere in the world. I can travel anywhere in the world. I have the financial means, and I have the means to do it just with the lifestyle, so I’m very lucky and very grateful for that. However, it creates a weird set of problems, right? Where do I actually choose to live? And so what I do is a pros/cons list. What does that mean? What are the pros of living in Bend, Oregon? What are the cons? What are my other opportunities, right? Third choice. What are my other opportunities that are out there? Sure, we have this really nice adventure band and I’m actually, you know, between these Daily Growth Hacks I’m actually working on to go on our next trip. You know, we can just live in there. We could travel the United States. There are all kinds of options. What are the pros and cons with that? And I’ll start weighing those questions out.

I don’t think there are questions that aren’t worth having. I don’t think there are questions that you shouldn’t actually think about, or waste your time on. Obviously everything’s relative, you know, you don’t have to spend six solid days trying to figure out where you should live, or things of that nature. Decisions get to get made, and I like to make decisions very quickly. I like to be decisive. I think there’s, the first thing that comes to mind tends to be the best answer for me. And so I recommend you look at that for yourself as well. But there’s no area that I don’t think should be questioned personally.

Now, with that again, I like the journaling, because the journaling you can also go back to and let it sit with you. So ask the question before you go to bed, right? So you ask the question like, “Jesus, should I use Bend, Oregon as my jump off spot as my home base? For all these epic adventures my family and I do?” And then the next morning, subconsciously during the night, things are working, things are going on in my brain, and the next morning that’s when I will start to journal about it again, and actually re-visit that question.

So Victor, I don’t know if this exactly answers your question, again it’s a little vague. If not, clear it up, just shoot me an email. I’m happy to go over for you, but also I’d encourage you to throw it in the Author of Your Own Story group to get other people’s insights as well.

That’s it for me today. So, remember, share this out with three people you know, have conversations that matter. And like Victor, make sure you’re actually putting this out into the world and actually doing the work. So grab your journal, do the work, just like Victor did. How do you solve problems? How do you solve things that come to you? Questions? I’d love to hear from you in the Author of Your Own Story group, so I’ll see you there. That’s it for me today, go out and be the author of your own story.

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