One of the most important things I’ve learned in researching personal and professional success is this “Solutions are simple, execution is complex”. The practical use for this knowledge is as a signal for when you’ve spent too much time in thinking about a problem. Many of us are prone to “analysis paralysis”, thinking so much about a problem, that we fail to take action to solve it.
I recently listened to a podcast, Janet Varney’s The JV Club, featuring an interview with the actress Melanie Lynskey. In it, Lynskey describes a low point she reached after early success (in the film “Heavenly Creatures”), while tanking an audition, the director/mentor Gaylene Preston pulled her aside asking “what is wrong with you?” Lynskey proceeds to rattle off a list of things that were overwhelming her, to which the director said “Okay, here’s what you do, make a list of everything that’s making you unhappy, and then you think how can I change this – then make a little separate list of what you can do to change it. “ Simple, right? But Lynskey says “she changed my life, this woman, just from this one…she gave me a different outlook, and it’s the first time I really realized, like, oh, this is within my control”. And, taking this advice to heart, Lynskey’s gone on to be a successful, working actor in an unbelievably competitive industry.
So, if you start to feel overwhelmed by choices or challenges, do yourself the favor of remembering this thought from Napoleon Hill “There is nothing in this world that I can’t do something about, if it’s nothing more than adjust myself to an unpleasant situation so it does not destroy my spirit.” Armed with this belief, you can face the challenge of first, identifying the problem, then identifying and taking the actions needed to meet the challenge.