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One way to approach an obstinate difficulty in your life is to identify a time when you faced a problem with a similar pattern to the one you seem unable to solve now.

There are always more solutions than there are problems, but sometimes the problem looms so large that we believe we are unable to resolve it or work round it.

Recognising how you solved something in the past often holds the seeds of the solution now; we have to trust the creative inner part of ourselves to help us in an hour of need.

For example:

A successful businessman had been unable to develop a long-term and loving relationship, was asked how he had built trust and long-standing relationships in his business (some had lasted 20 years).

He often said that the key to loyalty in business was being interested in the people he dealt with, rather than obsessing about the bottom line; once the relationship was established the outcome (sales, profit), would follow. Throughout his business career he’d had to work hard at fostering good relations with colleagues and clients. Not all had succeeded, but enough had, so his business was a good long-term proposition.

In his personal life he’d been so focused on getting the result he wanted (a long-term relationship), that he’d overlooked that any relationship needs nurturing so that it can flourish. In understanding the skills and strengths he’d used in his business, and re-applying them appropriately in another area of his life, his social circle improved as did his prospects for true love.

A budding novelist was struggling to complete her first novel, she was unable to overcome gnawing doubts that she could succeed at turning her passion for writing into a career. In her earlier life she had been a schoolteacher who had inspired her pupils with her love of the subject she taught and her engaging teaching style.

With help from her therapist she was able to see that she could apply the same set of skills – passion for her subject, the ability to engaging others, determination and self-confidence as a teacher – to completing her writing project.

There is no problem that hasn’t already been solved by someone somewhere. Very often, if you look at your own strengths and past successes, you’ll find it was you.

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