This past Sunday, I woke up with my lizard brain in high gear.  I was thinking about crises, problems, and scarcity –and felt a general sense of fear and heaviness.  These feelings are being triggered by fatigue, and most of these things are outside my control.  

On Monday, I had my Business Accelerator coaching call with Michael Hayatt.  He taught me that problems are not created equal.  First, he had me write down what I perceived to be the biggest problem that I am facing this week.  Then, he had me rank it from 1 to 5 – with a 5 being fully horrible.  

Next, he outlined the three types of problems: 

    • Real Problems: I must act now!  Car pulls out in front of me and I must apply brake immediately to avoid a collision.   


    • Perceived Problems: These problems are not real, although they feel real; and the emotions they provoke are real.  For example: Chest pain, with pain radiating down the left arm is immediately perceived as a heart attack; prompting emergency response.  However, when examined and tested by a doctor, the diagnosis is anxiety accompanied by acid reflux.   
    • Potential Problems Imagined situations that are not currently a problem; but given time will or may become a problem.  For example:  Poor nutrition and / or lack of exercise over time will result in cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and circulatory problems, or diabetes,  osteoarthritis, and heart attack.

As I looked at the problem I had written down at the beginning of the call, I realized it was a potential problem, not a real problem.  The truth of the matter is that I have done everything correctly in this particular situation, and the result – or potential problem – is not within my control at this time.  So, I have to put the problem aside in my mind and when I receive more information and am able to act on it, I will. 

Michael explained that problems are best solved when they are potential problems, instead of real or perceived problems.  This is why we are so willing to turn it over in our minds, in an effort to develop a solution so that we are able to act quickly when a real problem presents itself.

I realized that in my life, 95% of my problems have been perceived or potential problems.  This gave me the opportunity to adjust, course-correct, learn and grow.

“A challenge is just a problem to be solved”  

Grateful to be on this journey with you,

Dr. Matthew Harkness

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