What To Do When Life Throws Stones In Your Path

Have you ever had one of those days/weeks/months/years when life just seems to keep throwing stones in your path?

For example, you want to change job, but there are no interesting jobs in your area. Or you apply for jobs, only to get turned down after the first interview. Or you get to the final interview stage, only to be pipped at the post by someone younger/older/insert adjective of choice.

Or perhaps you are looking for a new relationship, only for your best friend to hook up with the guy or gal you liked. Or you’re sick and tired of online dating after your profile got accidentally deleted, or hacked, or flooded with ‘offers’ you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. Or you keep getting into relationships that just don’t work out, leaving you even more disillusioned

Or maybe you want to move home. Lawyers, surveyors, estate agents. ‘Nuff said.

So, what can you do when life continually chucks rocks at you?

Look at every problem as having a solution

First off, there are always options. You may not like some of them, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. You need to consider these, and choose the best option for you at this time.

If you don’t like the options you have, consider how you could make them more palatable.

Secondly, there may be options you haven’t thought about. Try a brainstorming exercise to help you find new possibilities.

Walt Disney

Walt Disney talking with some of his creatives

Walt Disney’s approach to problem-solving

Walt Disney, despite his many faults, had a great approach to problem solving. He suggested keeping the steps to a solution totally separate. That could mean having different people handle each step, or really getting into the role of each kind of problem solver.

The three roles or steps he distinguished were: the Dreamer, the Realist, and the Critic. And after they’ve done their bit, you need to decide what you are actually going to do: create an action plan.

The Dreamer

Here’s where you brainstorm. It can be a good idea to warm up to this by doing something playful, by moving around, and generally getting yourself unstuck physically and mentally.

Then, be as creative and as silly as you like. Think of as many possibilities as you can, without censorship. Nothing is too daft, at this stage!

The Realist

Now, it’s time to think about what is actually possible. What would be needed to make any of those ideas work? Who could help? When would it have to happen? Think about the reality of putting any of those solutions into effect.

If something is totally impossible, you’ll have to cross it off your list. Still, you may find that some of that dreamer playfulness helps you come up with realistic possibilities to make something unusual actually work.

The Critic

Finally, the critic comes to spread gloom and doom. “That’s not possible because…” “Worst case scenario, you end up with…” “What about if X happened?” “What’s missing?” “What are the weaknesses of the plan?”

By digging into the downside, rather than optimistically going along with something because you’d like it to be possible, you make it more likely that what you choose will actually succeed. There’s a skill to seeing the weaknesses in a plan, a strength to not letting your enthusiasm run away with you.

Action Plan

Taking into account everything you’ve thought about with your different hats on, which solution works best for you? Which solution is feasible? What do you want to move forward with?

You may not find the ‘perfect’ solution in this way. However, at least you will be clear about what the best path for you is right now. Sometimes, you have to take the least bad option and just run with it.


Find a support network

When things are tough, it can also be really helpful to get some support.

That might be financial support (think bankers, or parents, or mates who’ll buy you a beer). It could be strategic support (financial advisers, CV specialists, coaches), administrative support (accountants, payroll specialists, a PA – virtual or otherwise, a dating site), or logistical support (removals firms, friends who have friends who are also single). It could be emotional support (therapists, family, friends).

Consider what support you most need, and who can provide it. Will you need to pay for help? Can you find someone knowledgeable from your existing network? How can you get the most from your interactions?


You may want to consider what a coach and/or hypnotherapist can contribute, in this regard.


A coaching session is a great way to create the focus for problem-solving. Your coach can help you find greater clarity around what the exact issue is, and what your end goal is.

For example, if you want a new relationship, are you looking for intimacy, companionship, sex, someone to help pay the bills, someone to grow old with? Maybe you think all of the above, with a sense of humour thrown in for good measure! Still, it can help to get clear about what your priorities are.

Say you’re looking to create a more fulfilling career for yourself, your coach can help you problem-solve around what you need to do and in what order. You might use Disney’s Creative Strategy, but what will help you with the brainstorming? A coach can suggest techniques to assist at every stage, such as using visual cues to bring your playful side onboard while brainstorming, or creating a timeline to assess the practicality of something.


When facing problems, it can sometimes be hard to see beyond the current issues. Hypnotherapy can help to get you in touch with your subconscious, which is a more creative and focused part of yourself.

You might want to focus on bringing to mind past solutions that you can draw on in the present, things you may have consciously forgotten.

You could also visualise the future you want to create, and allow your subconscious to ‘fill in the gaps’: suggesting ways for you to get there.

You could simply use the trance state to enhance your creativity so that you can brainstorm without getting caught up in the ‘shoulds’ and ‘ought tos’ that often block us.

In hypnosis, you can also build your motivation to push on through, and to find the fun in making things work against the odds.

If you’d like some help with a stony problem, why not call or email to set up a free initial consultation? You can contact me on 07561 231 281 or email ceejaymccracken@gmail.com.

1 Comment

  1. […] Problem-solving for particular issues is a great skill to develop. Yet, life has its ups and downs, its twists and turns, that must be faced everyday. […]

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