Problems vs. Patterns

“Our problems do not really harm us… problems are solvable.  But patterns will destroy us.  A pattern is a problem that recurs.  Look for those.” Dr. Henry Cloud

Problems vs. Patterns. It’s a nice, albeit two dimensional differentiation, if you ask me.

But let’s go with it. Let’s say a problem is something that happens occasionally. And a pattern is something that happens repeatedly, even predictably.

If so, then patterns are the unsafe people in your life, those bad habits you can’t (or won’t) kick, those lies you keep repeating to yourself, those workplace assumptions that keep creating dysfunction. Patterns are the problems you encounter every day, often by your own choosing.

The question is, once you’ve identified a pattern, what are you going to do about it?

I used to be late a lot because I didn’t care about being on time. I needed an attitude adjustment. Then a friend gave me one, and I realized how rude and selfish I was being by making others wait.

Now I care about being prompt and strive to be early. I’ve learned to work backwards. What time do I need to arrive? Okay, so what time do I need to leave? Alright, then what time do I need to get ready to leave?

I don’t always get it right, but I’m getting better.

Take a moment to jot down the patterns that come to mind for you. What are your obvious next steps?

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