Many times when I’m trying to solve a problem or come up with a novel solution (literally – this happens when I’m writing much more than I’d like to admit), I have to purposefully step back and tell myself – look at the rules, then think again. What are “the rules” around my situation anyway? Who came up with them? Are they facts or have I taken what I think is fact and in truth, crafted my very own story around why I can’t find a workable solution?
In order to come up with alternatives and finally make a decision, it’s always served me well to get in touch with stories: those I’ve told myself, those I’ve learned from others, and those I need to create in order to remove myself from a state of confusion, frustration, consternation or inertia. Sometimes these stories lead me to a happy realization, other times they lead to discouragement…which are again stories I’ve told myself…and then the pattern starts over.
Getting in touch with stories around rules helps me take the time to develop a better understanding of which rules are critical, which are not, and which ones I’ve imposed on myself that may be holding me back. They also allow me to figure out what and who has influenced my thoughts or actions and whether I need (and can) change those thoughts and actions in ways I’d not considered before.
So next time you’re faced with a problem, look at the rules, then think again. What rules have you placed on yourself that are in fact not rules at all? What new stories do you need to create to take action?