Sometimes the best way to solve a nagging problem is to slow down, take a close look at it and try a different approach.
Not far from my home in Washington State is an incredible volcanic formation known as the Ape Caves. The Ape Caves are stunning lava tubes that hikers visit in droves every summer (sorry, despite the name there are no apes residing there). Because they’re underground, the tubes have a consistently cool temperature regardless of the air temperature outside. They’re also fantastically dark. Visitors won’t get far without a light source of some kind. And even with a flashlight or lantern, odds are high that they’ll stumble over the uneven surface. Some even take a fall.
I imagine those who are most prone to stumbling and falling are the folks without sufficient light, along with those who are moving the fastest, eager to reach the end of the tunnels. In either case an adjustment, either slowing down or breaking out that extra flashlight will usually correct the problem. It doesn’t eliminate the obstacles, it just makes them easier to navigate. Those who fail to adjust are the ones who will most likely suffer repeated stumbles and falls.
The old saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results has become cliché, yet the idea remains true. We’ll repeatedly make the same mistake when a simple adjustment could fix it.
I struggled for years trying to play certain tunes on the guitar. When I practiced, I always attempted to play the songs I was learning at the same speed as the musicians who wrote them. Only when I slowed down the tempo did I learn to pluck each note properly and create the right melody. Once I had the fingering right I could increase my speed until I reached the tempo of the original song. It was a small fix that improved my guitar playing in a big way.
What are areas that you’re struggling in? What small adjustments could be made to turn those struggles into victories? Sometimes it helps to slow down and shine a little light on the problem. It may take sincere reflection; an act that often takes the form of asking yourself the right questions and giving careful thought to the answers. Here’s a few questions that may help you turn your struggles into victories:
Mistakes are a part of life, and if we’re doing things right we’ll learn from them and return to our problems with better approaches. That’s what growth is. Fail, learn, improve, repeat. Slow down, shine a little light on things and change your approach. It’s either that or continue stumbling.