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Focusing on What’s Worth Fixing

In his article, Eric Kottke explores the importance of prioritizing and setting boundaries in order to reach our full potential. By identifying what truly matters and establishing clear boundaries, we can effectively channel our energy toward meaningful pursuits and avoid getting sidetracked by distractions.
Eric Kottke

Certified Coach, Eric Kottke Coaching

We all have a natural tendency to solve problems, but not all problems are created equal. Some problems have a high impact on our lives, while others are just distractions. By learning to focus on what’s worth fixing and setting boundaries, we can unlock our full potential and achieve greater success and fulfillment. In this blog post, we’ll explore the concept of high-impact problems, the dangers of safe problems, the value of setting boundaries, and how you can learn to identify and solve what’s truly important to transform your life.

Understanding High-Impact and Safe Problems

High-impact problems are the problems that really matter. They have a significant impact on our lives, relationships, and overall well-being. Examples of high-impact problems include improving our communication skills, setting better boundaries, or prioritizing our physical health.

On the other hand, safe problems are often just distractions that prevent us from focusing on what really matters. These may include things like organizing our closet or cleaning the house, which can be satisfying to complete but don’t have a significant impact on our lives. Safe problems can also include meddling in other people’s lives or feeling the need to fix or absorb other people’s emotions or problems.

"What if there was nothing to fix? How would that redirect your focus to fix what’s worth fixing?" -Eric Kottke

This is an interesting question to consider because oftentimes we get so caught up in fixing things that we forget to appreciate what’s already working well in our lives. It’s important to acknowledge the good in our lives and focus on what’s worth improving, rather than constantly searching for problems to solve.


Focusing on What’s Worth Fixing

By learning to focus on what’s worth fixing, we can unlock our full potential and achieve greater success and fulfillment. To do this, we need to be intentional about identifying the areas of our lives that truly need improvement. We should ask ourselves what problems we want to solve to make a lasting impact on our lives and those around us.

By focusing on what’s worth fixing, we can achieve greater satisfaction and fulfillment in our lives. We can prioritize our relationships with those who uplift and support us, and limit our exposure to those who bring us down. We can also prioritize our time and energy on the things that will have a lasting impact on our lives.

For example, if we struggle with communication in our relationships, we can focus on improving our communication skills by taking courses, practicing active listening, and setting aside time to communicate effectively. Or if we struggle with physical health, we can prioritize exercise, healthy eating, and stress reduction techniques.

Setting Boundaries to Focus on What’s Worth Fixing

To truly focus on what’s worth fixing, it’s important to set boundaries to prioritize our time, mind, relationships, and resources. This means being intentional about how we spend our time and energy, and who we allow into our lives. We should say no to things that don’t align with our values or goals, and yes to things that do.

By setting boundaries, we can create more space for the things that truly matter in our lives. We can prioritize our relationships with those who uplift and support us and limit our exposure to those who bring us down. We can also prioritize our time and energy on the things that are worth fixing and that will have a lasting impact on our lives.

For example, if we find ourselves spending too much time on social media or watching TV, we can set a boundary to limit our screen time and redirect that time and energy toward more productive and fulfilling activities. We can also set boundaries with people in our lives who drain our energy or don’t align with our values or goals. This might mean limiting contact with certain people or having difficult conversations to communicate our boundaries and expectations.

Setting boundaries can be challenging, especially if we’re used to saying yes to everything or trying to please everyone around us. However, by setting boundaries, we can create more space for what truly matters and ultimately feel more fulfilled in our lives.

The Power of Learned Optimism

Another important factor in unlocking our full potential is learned optimism. Optimism can be learned and cultivated through intentional practices. It involves focusing on positive thoughts and beliefs and viewing setbacks as temporary and specific, rather than permanent and pervasive.

By cultivating a positive mindset, we can achieve greater resilience, better mental and physical health, and improved performance. We can also approach problems with a growth mindset, seeing them as opportunities for learning and growth rather than insurmountable obstacles.

To cultivate a positive mindset, we can practice gratitude by reflecting on the things we’re thankful for in our lives, such as our relationships, health, or accomplishments. We can also practice positive self-talk by affirming our strengths and abilities and reframing negative thoughts into positive ones.

Conclusion:

By focusing on what’s worth fixing, setting boundaries, and cultivating a positive mindset through learned optimism, we can unlock our full potential and achieve greater success and fulfillment. It’s time to stop being distracted by low-impact problems and meddling in other people’s lives. Start focusing on what truly matters in your life, set boundaries to prioritize your time, mind, relationships, and resources, and cultivate a positive mindset to approach problems with a growth mindset.

It’s important to remember that this process is not a one-time event, but rather a continuous journey of self-reflection and growth. It takes time and effort to identify what’s truly important in our lives and set boundaries to prioritize those things. However, the rewards are worth it – by focusing on what’s worth fixing, we can unlock our full potential and live a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

In addition to the practical benefits of focusing on what’s worth fixing and setting boundaries, there are also emotional and psychological benefits. When we prioritize our time and energy on what truly matters, we feel more aligned with our values and goals, which can lead to a greater sense of purpose and fulfillment in life.

Furthermore, setting boundaries can improve our overall well-being by reducing stress and anxiety. By saying no to things that don’t align with our values or goals, we can avoid overcommitting ourselves and feeling overwhelmed. This can lead to greater peace of mind and improved mental health.

Another benefit of focusing on what’s worth fixing and setting boundaries is improved relationships. By prioritizing our relationships with those who uplift and support us, we can strengthen those connections and build a supportive network. This can lead to greater social support and improved overall well-being.

It’s important to note that focusing on what’s worth fixing and setting boundaries doesn’t mean we should ignore or neglect low-impact problems or distractions completely. These things can still be important and satisfying to address in moderation. The key is to prioritize our time and energy on what truly matters and set boundaries to avoid getting sidetracked by distractions.

To summarize, focusing on what’s worth fixing and setting boundaries can have numerous practical, emotional, and psychological benefits. By identifying what truly matters in our lives and setting boundaries to prioritize those things, we can unlock our full potential and live a more fulfilling and meaningful life. It takes time and effort to cultivate this mindset, but the rewards are well worth it.



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