You Can’t Run Away From Your Problems

by Bryan Golden

No one wants problems. Escaping from problems can be much more appealing than resolving them. Running away is certainly tempting, especially when facing persistent, repetitive problems.

Not only is it impossible to outrun your problems, attempting to do so exacerbates your frustration. When you try to escape, problems follow you. This is because the problems you experience repeatedly are due to what’s inside you rather than where you are. When you constantly face the same problem situations, you must look in the mirror to find the cause.

This doesn’t mean all problems are necessarily your fault. But there may be some aspect of your personality causing or attracting the problems. So, an effective way for resolving problems is to alter your behavior to produce better results.

Jane is currently working at her fourth job in ten years. Whenever Jane begins a new job, everything is great for the first year or so. Then things always go down hill for her. Jane’s coworkers start avoiding her. Her supervisor becomes more judgmental, criticizing Jane’s work habits.

Jane invariably changes jobs after growing dissatisfied with her work environment. She erroneously believes there is something wrong with the people she works with. In each new job, the pattern repeats itself. Needless to say, Jane is very frustrated, convinced it’s next to impossible to find a decent work environment.

Of course it is possible to land in a bad job. If that’s the case, changing jobs should remedy the situation. In Jane’s example, the same scenario reoccurs. Perhaps, Jane takes her problems with her to each new job. Jane needs to assess her interpersonal communication skills, and her job performance before once again jumping ship.

Over the last 20 years, Steven and his family moved five times. Sometimes they stayed in the same area, other times they moved to a new town or state. Wherever Steven went, he had the same problems. The neighbors were annoying, their house always had problems, there was too much traffic, and people were rude.

Was it possible for Steven to have such bad luck? Or was there some component of Steven’s nature that always found fault with whatever situation he was in? Since Steven found himself in the same scenario for two decades, chances are he takes his problems with him. Unless Steven identifies and corrects the elements of his personality responsible for his dissatisfaction, it won’t matter where or how often he moves.

Ed has trouble staying in a relationship. When he meets someone new, things are great in the beginning. Then the problems develop. Ed gets impatient with his partner. He is very independent and doesn’t want to adjust his lifestyle to accommodate another person. Ed has little desire to consider the needs of the person he is with.

When each relationship invariably ends, Ed is relieved and starts looking for someone else with whom he will be truly compatible. The problem is Ed’s attitude is incompatible with being in a successful relationship. Ed doesn’t think there is anything wrong with him. Therefore, he is destined to experience the same problems in every relationship. Should he happen to meet someone who feels the same way he does, the relationship will end even faster since neither one of them will be willing to be considerate of the other.

Don’t try to outrun your problems. Objectively analyze why your problems occur. Often it can be helpful to seek input from an objective party who can give you constructive feedback. You can change your behavior and attitude to prevent the same problems from repeating themselves.

NOW AVAILABLE: “Dare to Live Without Limits,” the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at bryan@columnist.com or write him c/o this paper.