What if you believed that there was a solution to every problem?
Would believing there was a solution make a problem feel more manageable?
In the early 1840’s, an industrious (and very hairy) man named Elias Howe dreamt of making a machine for sewing. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find a solution that would get the needle to work. As we know, ordinary sewing needles have the pointy bit at one end and the ‘eye’ – where you thread the cotton – at the other. But he knew this wouldn’t work in a machine. He wracked his brains for a workable solution, having a solid belief in his ability to resolve the problem.
Solid beliefs have enormous power to determine your experiences
All of your beliefs filter your experiences. In other words, you perceive the world through the filter of your beliefs (among other things). In the same way that negative beliefs may limit you or leave unwanted consequences, adopting positive beliefs can give you freedom and peace.
Beliefs of Excellence
Many NLP schools teach the presuppositions of NLP; sometimes also called the Beliefs of Excellence. As you can guess from their title, these are positive beliefs about the world and human nature, which once adopted will improve your life by improving the way you perceive the world.
Firstly, though it’s important to know that these aren’t truths
These are simply beliefs. NLP isn’t a cult, and people are free to believe anything they like. The question is whether a particular belief, view or opinion gives you more choices in life or limits your options.
So I’d like to introduce to you some possibly useful beliefs
No doubt, you’ll be able to find counter-examples to illustrate the opposite of each belief. So really, the question to ask yourself is this:
“Given that my beliefs affect how I perceive the world, will holding this belief serve me?”
If your answer is, ‘yes’ or ‘possibly’, then you could consciously hold that belief in mind and see how it influences what you do, how you perceive the world and how you communicate to people.
In other words, you can ‘try it on for size’
Try it for a few weeks and see how you like it, discuss it with others. It’s entirely up to you whether you make it yours or not. The first one I’d like you to consider is the title of this article.
‘There is a solution to every problem’
We could argue until the cows come home whether this is ‘true’ or not. For example, if you believe something’s impossible, then you’ll uncover reasons that make it seem impossible. Let’s face it; virtually everything was impossible once – until someone came along who believed it was possible – and then did it! Roger Bannister ran a mile in less than four minutes. Many believed he had achieved the impossible. These days, it’s common for elite athletes to run sub-four-minute miles.
But let’s explore it as a belief
If you believe that there is a solution to every problem, you’ll be far more inclined to keep going until you find one. So having this belief is likely to make you more tenacious and more persistent. In the face of adversity, personal challenges and all the crap that life throws at you, holding this belief could help you keep going; in the process becoming more resilient. You won’t give up, and you’ll remain hopeful of achieving a breakthrough and finding that solution.
But what about if you don’t believe that there is a solution to every problem?
Believing the opposite; that some problems don’t have a solution, will more than likely result in you having a cursory search for a solution but giving up more quickly if the search becomes arduous. Some of the exceptional developments of our times came to fruition because of someone’s dogged determination to find a solution. Elias Howe is one such person.
Elias persevered with his search to develop a needle for his sewing machine – apparently both day and night. While he worked on it consciously during the day, his unconscious mind went to work to find a solution at night.
While he dreamt of making the world’s first sewing machine – the solution came to him in a nightmare!
In his dream, Elias was captured by a group of natives who were dancing around him waving their spears. He noticed that their spears had holes near their tips – at the pointed end.
He woke up and realised that this was the solution to making his sewing machine actually sew! The thread needed to go through a hole in the tip of the needle. With that new idea, Howe completed the sewing machine design. On September 10, 1846, Howe’s design was awarded the first United States patent (U.S. Patent 4,750) for a sewing machine. One of the essential features was a needle with the eye at the point.
What type of clothes would we be wearing today, I wonder, without Elias Howe’s belief that he could find a solution to his problem?
So now it’s up to you
Would, ‘There’s a solution to every problem’ be a useful belief for you to have? Perhaps you already believe this and have illustrations from your own life? What developments might you contribute to the world by holding that simple belief? How would it enable you to get through those difficult times that we all experience?