The Art of Problem Solving: How to Know You’re Addressing the Right Challenges

You know how sometimes we can spend hours, days, or even weeks trying to solve a problem in our businesses, only to realize we were focusing on the wrong issue all along?

It happens to the best of us.

In this super relatable and easy-to-understand post, you’ll learn some of my favorite tips and tricks on how to:

  • Really zero in on the true challenges your business is facing.
  • Avoid those pesky pitfalls.
  • Make the most of your time and resources by tackling the problems that really matter.
There are Two Kinds of Problems

The first kind of problem is the Surface Problem. This is the problem that is the most obvious and the one that you most want  to solve.  These kinds of problems are distractions!  I’ll explain why in a moment…

The second kind of problem is the Core Problem. This is the problem that is buried deep beneath the surface and is the cause of all of the Surface Problems.  

Why Most New Years’ Resolutions Fail

This is why most New Years’ Resolutions fail — because we think the habits need changing (Surface Problem), but we need to be looking at the subconscious belief (Core Problem). 

An Example of a Surface Problem vs Core Problem

For example, let’s say you have a problem: you feel so stressed out. This “stress” problem is the one you try to fix by sleeping more, avoiding what’s stressing you, blaming the cause of the stress, trying to fix the stressing situation and more… 

So what kind of problem is this?  It’s a Surface Problem. A distraction! Surface Problems are distractions because they keep you busy trying to fix them, instead of getting to the real problem. The real problem is the Core Problem—  and that’s the one you have to dig deeper to find

Dig deeper to find the Core Problems that cause all Surface Problems
Dig Deeper to Uncover the Real Issue

Ok, Christie, I’d like to dig deeper to find the Core Problem.  The Core Problem is usually something subconscious. Sub means “beneath” and conscious means “awareness,” so it’s literally beneath your awareness. If you knew what it was, you’d be aware of it — you’d be awake to it. Instead, you’re asleep to it. 

This is why many people seek outside help to see the invisible Core Problems that keep them stuck. A subconscious mind expert, a friend, a book, a quote can awaken you to a fresh perspective and get you unstuck. 

Let’s say that you dig deeper.  Through this new perspective, you see that beneath the “stress” is the Core Problem that you feel insecure and fearful. Why do you feel insecure and fearful? Because you don’t want to look bad in front of your peers. Why don’t you want to look bad? Because if you do this thing you’d like to do, and your peers reject you, you’ll feel worthless. Ahhh. Feelings of worthlessness. THIS is the Quality Problem to solve. 

We arrived at the Core Problem using a technique called “The 5 Whys” — you keep asking Why questions until you get to the bottom of it.  

There are other exercises and techniques besides The 5 Whys, of course. 

And — not all Surface and Core Problems are subconscious matters, either. For this blog, we’re talking about the subconscious. However, you can use this same metaphor to see what’s really going on in your business.  Example: are sales dropping because your salesperson just quit? Or are sales dropping because you had a website change causing your search engine traffic to drop off?  An outsider can really help you dig deeper to uncover the real problems. 

Back to the subconscious matters… 

Awareness is Only Half the Battle, Though. 

All subconscious beliefs underpin our actions.  If you don’t know why you keep doing the same things over and over again, even though you want to change your actions, look at the Core Problem — usually your subconscious beliefs. Once you’re aware of the Core Problem, you must transform the subconscious belief to a new, more helpful belief. 

Beliefs > Actions > Results

Remember, the subconscious belief system underpins your actions. So if you want new actions that bring new results, you must upgrade your subconscious beliefs. 

Upgrade Your Thinking

Your brain can be rewired. Your brain is capable of creating new neural pathways: new beliefs that create new habits. Once the new belief is engrained, this becomes a new pathway in your brain. And then your desire to do new actions will naturally occur — like a new reflex.  

Identifying the Core Problems gives you back the ability to choose something different, instead of acting the way you do “by default.”  It’s like you installed a new program on your computer’s operating system. Instead of running the default program, you start to overwrite the default program by installing a new program of your own choosing. Guess what… eventually the operating system starts running YOUR new chosen program, by default. 

Are You Using a Bandaid?

Remember, you cannot just “think” yourself into new ways of operating, as in “Oh, I’m going to think this different way now— and act like I’m not worthless or afraid.”  A positive mindset will only get you so far.  Same with positive affirmations— they’re great and they also work slowly. Reciting affirmations is like slapping a bandaid on things and calling it healed.  The metaphorical bandaid might make you feel better, but it will not heal what’s festering underneath the surface.

Getting Below the Surface

To reprogram your subconscious beliefs, we must speak in a language that the subconscious mind can understand.  This is the language of symbols, metaphors and dreams. We must also use a different wavelength — and get your brain into its most ideal reprogramming state — the brain waves of Alpha or Theta.  

When you’re awake, your brain is in a Beta brainwave state.  When your brain is in the Alpha or Theta state, you feel relaxed and your brain receives information with less resistance.  Delta state is the sleep state.  There’s also Gamma state, but we’re not going into that here. 

Alpha state is induced when you’re in meditation (that’s why ideas seem to come out of thin air when you’re meditating — you’re less resistant to fresh ideas). Alpha is also induced when you’re practicing yoga, when relaxing in front of the TV — or when you undergo hypnosis.  

Can you see why hypnotherapy, guided meditations and visualizations received in the Alpha or Theta state is a way more effective way to reprogram subconscious beliefs than repeating affirmations while in your waking Beta state?  That’s why I like to help clients reprogram their brains using Subconscious Language + Subconscious Brainwaves for faster results. 

What’s Next for You?

Your beliefs determine your actions. Your actions determine your results. Ready to get new results?  Ready to get unstuck and go to your next level?

Christie Turley guides visionary leaders to reconnect with their higher genius, so they can improve decision-making and deliver greater profits, influence and impact. She is the author of the book, The Intuition-Led Business, which offers a framework on unlocking the intuitive and subconscious minds, and she is founder of Conscious State University, an online learning platform that teaches leaders and their teams how to make better decisions using science-backed methods.  A dynamic speaker, she has shared the stage with many New York Times bestselling authors and is the host of The Higher Genius Podcast. She lives in the southwestern United States with her husband and their two daughters.

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