Facing Reality: How to Become Aware of Your Problems
4 min read

Facing Reality: How to Become Aware of Your Problems

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Solving your problems starts with being aware of them.

If you don't know that you have a problem you can't solve it.

If you can't solve it, it will grow, worsen, and can make your life a living hell.

For example, let's say you're constantly tired.

But you assume this is normal, because everyone around you is constantly tired, too. Then, you might lack the awareness that being constantly tired isn't normal and instead a problem to be solved. Lacking this insight, you remain tired and suffer through the consequences of not solving this problem. Over time, the problem of being constantly tired makes you unhappy, resentful, and frustrated which reduces the quality of your life, relationships, and work.

But, if you aren't aware that being constantly tired is a problem, you won't be able to solve it and can only continue to suffer from it.

Thus, being aware of a problem is the first step to understand and solve it.

This begs the question of how you can become more aware of your problems.

While I used to be blissfully unaware of many problems in my life for a long time, I've since learned three ideas about how to become more aware of them which I share with you today.

1. Be Extremely Truthful With Yourself

The first step to become aware of a problem is to be extremely truthful with yourself.

Most people aren't. They sugarcoat their problem, deny its existence, or downplay its consequences. This behavior is understandable because facing a problem is difficult, unpleasant, and hard. So, no wonder that people avoid their problems.

But, as I've written about before, avoidance gives problems room to grow and makes them worse over time. So, despite your natural inclination to downplay your problem, you should face it head-on.

This starts with a commitment to truth.

Committing to truth means that you stop rationalizing your problems, downplaying their consequences, or lying about their existence. It means to examine them closely and to outline them as clearly and concretly as you can.

The moment you commit to being extremely truthful with yourself is the moment when you gie your mind permission to become more aware of your problems. From there, it won't take long before your mind complies and makes you aware of a few problems in your life.

2. Document & Review Your Days

Writing down what you do throughout your day is another technique you can use to become more aware of your problems.

At the end of every day take 2 minutes and write down a few bullet points about your day. Note what you've done, felt and experienced. Then enjoy your evening.

When you do this, you don't have to follow a rigid structure or template. You can if you want. But, you can also write free form or simply record your thoughts on your phone. The key is to make this practice as comfortable, fun, and easy for you as possible so you keep doing it.

Once you've documented your days throughout the week, you can take 10 minutes on a Sunday and review, what you've documented. If you do this even just once, you'll probably discover regularities. You will notice that you often feel the same negative emotions, run into the same problems, or struggle with the same challenges throughout the week. Take a few minutes and ask yourself if these recurring patterns might be problems.

Maybe they are, maybe they aren't. But, in the end, doing this practice consistently is almost guaranteed to make you aware of problems that you didn't notice in your day-to-day life.

3. Get Feedback From Reality

Reality is unforgiving.

Even if you don't want to admit that you have a problem reality will not fail to remind you that you are wrong. Further, it won't stop reminding you of your problems until you have solved them once and for all.

Thus, listening closely to reality's unrelenting feedback is one of the best ways to become more aware of your problems.

You listen to reality, by paying attention to your negative emotions, feelings, and moments of suffering in your life. When you feel regrets, shame, guilt, or frustration it's usually reality making you aware of a problem.

If you pay more attention to the feedback and information that reality provides you with, you can quickly become more aware of your problems.

So, when reality tries to make you aware of a problem resist the reflex to ignore, downplay, or excuse the problem. Instead, pay attention and listen to what reality tells you about the problem.

If you make this your habitual response to reality's reminders, it will quickly make you aware of all kinds of problems you had no idea about.


To wrap things up:

If you aren't aware of a problem, you can't do anything about it, and won't solve it. Then, it will grow and reduce the quality of your life.

Thus, it's important to become more aware of your problems so that you can do something to solve them.

In this letter, we've explored three ways to do just that:

First, you can commit to being truthful with yourself. This means to stop lying about, denying, or excusing your problems. Instead, it means to be truthful about them as much as you can. Adopting this mindset toward your problems allows you to notice them much more often.

Second, you can document what you do every day. Then, you can set aside 10 minutes on the weekend to review what you've documented. Doing this with a keen eye for recurring patterns, and repeating obstacles can make you highly aware of problems in your life.

Third, you can pay close attention to the information that reality gives you. If you have a problem, reality will usually make you aware of it in some way and won't stop until you've solved it. Thus, paying more attention to the clear feedback that reality is giving you is a quick way to become more aware of your problems.

So, if you want to become more aware of your problems try one or all three of these ideas and let me know if they help you create the life you want.

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