Problems are like elbows – everyone’s got them. Our individual problems say a lot about where we are in life, and in this piece, I suggest that imagining problems constructively can build a life that is enjoyable and fulfilling.
I use this method in my own life whenever I’m trying to achieve something, which is like, always.
Here’s how it works: I simply ask myself the question, “What kind of problems would I have if I achieved my goal?”
Then, I make a mental list of the problems that would imply that my goal is already accomplished. In this way, I get to view problems as evidence of my success, while imagining the feeling of the wish fulfilled.
Neville Goddard wrote endlessly about the power of imagination. He suggested that if a person can imagine the feeling of their wish fulfilled, the person’s subconscious would begin activating the necessary actions to bring the dream to life.
A simple example from my life is when I wanted to adopt a pet: it took a month to get the shelter’s approval.
During this time, I focused on the potential problems I would have to face once the adoption was complete. I imagined myself hiring a pet-sitter, I imagined myself scooping cat poops, and keeping her litter box clean.
I imagined these problems as if they were real, and as my mind began providing solutions, I was able to envision my goal as complete.
Problems make things real. In our fantasy, we tend to see only the good things and leave out the annoying bits. But this can be what makes those dreams unreachable and unrealistic – not because we are incapable of achieving them, but because subconsciously, we only see them happening in a far-off, magical universe where we can have anything we want.
Spoiler alert: we are already in that magical universe where we can have, or be, anything we want.
The trick of imagining potential problems activates that inner belief that yes, the dream can become a reality. It may seem like a downer to imagine problems, but as long as they are linked to an achieved goal, it’s not bad at all.
Have you ever looked at someone who was complaining about their life, and thought, “Wow, I would love to have those kinds of problems.” Imagining problems associated with a personal goal is based on the same concept.
Another example from my life would be to imagine finding a literary agent for my book. My goal, obviously, is to write the next great American novel. It sometimes feels like a far-off dream, but I know from experience that even far-off dreams can become reality with faith, persistence, and inspired action.
So I imagine the editing process, and the frustration when my imaginary editor asks me to cut one of my favorite scenes. I imagine the task of finding the perfect artist to design the book cover. I imagine the unfamiliar process of doing a book tour. I imagine finding the perfect actors for the Netflix adaptation.
Taking a few minutes out of my day to really sit and imagine these problems as if my book was already written, already accepted by a publishing house, already a best-seller, tricks my brain into believing the book is already done.
The brain – the mind – is an incredibly powerful tool, not just for facing problems in our current reality, but for creating new problems out of our imagination. Once the mind believes something is an issue, it basically sorts through data until the issue is manifested.
Let’s say a person really, really wants a healthy, loving, romantic relationship. What sort of problems would arise if that was already happening? Maybe it would deciding what show to watch, or where to go eat. Maybe it would be something deeper, like facing insecurities and dealing with them head-on. Maybe it would be deciding what gift to give on Valentine’s Day.
Or, let’s say a person really, really wants to start their own business. What sort of problems would they potentially face if that business was up and running? Perhaps they would need to find an accountant to help them with the profit. Perhaps they would need to start looking for a bigger building, because the business needs more space. Perhaps they need to tell their partner that they need to work late, and will miss out on tonight’s NBA finals game.
We all have problems. Some of them are out of our control, so it’s pointless to even worry about those. But problems can be great tools if used carefully and consciously. We can use our imagination to create a world where yes, we did achieve that goal, and we know we did it because of the problems associated with its success.
Maybe soon, someone will look at you complaining about your life, and think, “Wow, I wish I had your problems.”
What types of problems would be associated with having your goal achieved? How would it feel, on an emotional level, to face those problems? Can you imagine a world where you already reached your goal, and then imagine the issues that would arise?
Imagination is for more than just playing pretend as a little kid. We can play pretend as adults, and discover the magic of creating our own reality.
Thanks for reading 🙂 And good luck,