A different approach to fixing problems

Prof, there are so many breakdowns, and sometimes I get overwhelmed. Where to begin?

Dear Overwhelmed,

So, you would be happy with just getting to whelm? Let’s get you to fulfillment and ease.

In the face of “problems” most people wonder, “What do I fix first?” That is not necessarily the right question. That question is at the same level of the breakdown. As Einstein said, “No problem can be fixed by the same level of consciousness that created it.” What he means is that there is a different “vibration” to problems and solutions. 

Great solutions begin with “What do I want?” rather than “What is wrong here?” This may seem like a minimal distinction, but it is a powerful one, especially if you are truthful. Fixing something is “past-based thinking.” Create the present from the future you want to experience.

For example, if your complaint is that training doesn’t “stick,” ask yourself, “What do I really want?” If you answer truthfully, you may come up with another answer entirely outside of “training.” It may be a cultural evolution, or outsourcing, or rethinking processes, etc.

More often than not, it’s the questions we ask that shift our lives, not the solutions we seek. As my buddy Merlin would probably say, “Think from the future.”


This business advice column speaks to the soulful side of business. It is designed for companies and individuals that want to excel, stand out, and realize ROWM: A Return on What Matters. It is based on the book from the business superhero The Profit Prophet. Please send your questions (may be anonymous) to [email protected].