By Apelles Poh Hong Pang, a 23-year MDRT member from Singapore
Are you a positive or negative person? Do you struggle to deal with difficulties in your life?
These three questions helped me reframe my perspective toward the problems I face. They are very practical, and we can apply them immediately to the challenges confronting us now.
- What could have been worse?
“I complained that I have no shoes, until I saw someone with no feet.”
A few years back, I was making a U-turn along a road in Queenstown when a taxi came from the left and hit the bumper of my car. Immediately, I alighted from the car and went to inspect the damage. The taxi driver also came forward, and soon reasons and excuses started to fly. Instead of huffing and puffing, I quickly asked myself this question, “What could have been worse?” Grateful thoughts began to flood my mind. “I could have been injured; I could have injured someone — or worse, killed someone; there could have been more serious damage. No one was harmed.” I smiled and settled with the other driver and drove off for my appointment. The whole incident was now at the back of my mind. It didn’t bother me much after that.
- What is the other person’s perspective, or another perspective to the problem?
“The pretty rainbow is made up of different colors. If it were one color, it wouldn’t be called a rainbow.”
The story of the six blind men touching an elephant is instructive. Each described the elephant from his own perspective. Each one was right in his own way.
Ask this “perspective” question when a colleague who is usually a good co-worker makes some mistakes. She may be having some domestic problems at home. Ask this question when a client becomes overly anxious during times of market volatility. Remind yourself of this question whenever there are quarrels or disagreements between you and others.
- What would this problem be one year or five years from now?
“Time can turn a big problem into a small problem, a small problem into no problem.”
When I was a teenager in secondary school, I had a crush on this cute girl in the class next to mine. The puppy love soon developed into a full-grown dog. Then the bad news arrived: She wasn’t interested in me and had no wish to start any relationship. My world came crashing down. Naively, I had thought she would be the only girl for me. I couldn’t really eat and sleep for a whole week. I made vows that now appear silly as I look back. No, the world didn’t end. After one month of anguish, a friend introduced me to another girl. It didn’t mean that I wasn’t a loyal and faithful guy, but I guess as a teenager, my emotions often mirrored the stock markets.
Hear more helpful questions from the 2016 Annual Meeting presentation, “Turning problems into possibilities,” in the July episode of MDRT Presents:
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