“I’m just trying to fix the problem!”   Do you often hear yourself, or others, say that at work or home? If so, you are not alone.

For many, their entire day is about fixing problems. When you have trained yourself to see only problems in life, it’s natural that you feel anxiety when things go wrong.

In the problem orientation (in The Power of TED* it is referred to as the Victim Orientation) there are two BIG MYTHS that need to be dispelled.

The first has to do with what you tell yourself that you are reacting to. You tell yourself that you are just trying to fix the problem. Right? But here’s the first BIG MYTH: what you are really reacting to is the anxiety that arises when you are in a problem-reacting state.

You tell yourself you are just reacting to the problem when, in reality, you are reacting to an uncomfortable emotional state. You actually are trying to reduce or get away from the anxiety that you feel that has been engage by the problem.

You may give-up and feel powerless in the face of the problem (Victim role); or, you may try to micro-manage and control the situation (Persecutor role); or you may attempt to accommodate and make everyone happy (Rescuing role). None of these strategies are really addressing the problem — they are instead attempting to manage the anxiety you feel from focusing only on the problem.

The second myth has to do with this hidden hope: “If I just fix this problem, then everything will be okay. I can finally get to the important work.” That’s the second BIG MYTH: You never really, sustainably solve a problem in the reactive orientation.

Here’s why: if you take action toward solving the problem and it helps the problem situation (i.e. the situation improves), your anxiety decreases and you lose energy for action — and you just go on to the next problem staring you in the face or what is next on your “to do” list.

These two big myths are intertwined.

  1. You react to the problem because you feel anxiety (myth one) and;
  2. Then you do something to address the problem and the situation improves, you feel better, the anxiety diminishes and then you go on to the next thing rather than permanently solving the problem (myth two).

Our experience is that, inevitably, the original problem is going to come back around at some point in the future and the cycle begins all over again.

The Problem (Victim) Orientation is NOT a problem-solving mindset, it is merely a problem REACTING mindset driven by anxiety and perpetuated by these two big myths.

By adopting a Creator Orientation – which is outcome, rather than problem focused – you can liberate yourself from the two big myths and the vicious cycle they produce, by solving problems in service to the outcomes you want.