Misidentifying the Problem

Misidentifying a problem leads to solutions that probably won’t work.

If you have a headache, drinking a lot of alcohol might temporarily ease the pain, but will more likely lead to a slimmer wallet, more of a headache, and you’ll be hungover to boot. For more effective treatment of headaches, consider a glass of water and perhaps an aspirin.

Many treatment plans fail for the same reason. Something is wrong, and you think you know what it is, but that’s just because you’re looking at the obvious.

As an example, many of us feel “overwhelmed.” Perhaps we are. Maybe we feel generally anxious, and perhaps we are. So we are tempted to treat the symptoms, such as declaring email bankruptcy or taking a digital sabbatical. Or maybe it’s something else entirely. To figure it out, consider taking a look at the bigger picture of your life.

Because while you think the issue is all those emails or notifications you’re getting, maybe that’s not it at all. Maybe the real problem isn’t too many inputs, it’s not enough purpose. Maybe you need to ask bigger questions of yourself:
*If I accomplish only one thing today, what should it be?
*Who is most important in my life?
*What am I working toward?
*How can I be happier?

When you get these things right, the rest of the decisions matter far less. You can spend your time online or not. You can rent a mansion or own a tiny home. The decisions are up to you, like they always are.

I guess what I am saying is: don’t be distracted into thinking that the answer is always to simplify. Living with purpose in the digital age isn’t any harder than it’s ever been. TO my mind, that anxiety you’re feeling isn’t your phone or email. It’s your soul. It’s your inner voice saying, “Is this all there is? How can I feel more present”

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