“A problem can never be solved from the level at which it was created.”
~Albert Einstein

The other day I was stuck in a problem, and I couldn’t seem to find my way out. I had a client for whom I had to design a new program, and try as I might, I couldn’t fit in everything that “needed” to be included in the day’s agenda. There wasn’t enough time to cover the important things, or enough reflection space between topics for the important things to fully sink in.

I sat at my computer for nearly the full day, trying time and again to make everything fit, but I simply couldn’t pull it off. I often coach clients not to work at forcing a solution, but I found that it was all I could do. I had a deadline. I had an anxious client. And I had to get this done. But I couldn’t.

I sat, and sat, and sat…and tried, and tried, and tried. And then I remembered something that often works for me – finding answers and inspiration from my collection of quotes.So I looked through my list and came upon this Albert Einstein quote that someone had recently shared with me. I read it quickly as I rushed through my list, but still it hit me right between the eyes. I was trying to force this solution. I was trying to solve this problem using my brainpower and willpower – and from the level at which it was created…sitting at my desk chair and refusing to leave it alone until I figured it out.

So I pushed against my natural impulses to keep going until I finished, stepped away from the computer and even the office, and went for a walk. And, needless to say, as I did my best to separate my mind from the problem (and evasive solution) at hand, a solution I never would have imagined had I remained in the “force it” mode, appeared. It suddenly became exceedingly apparent to me how I could combine topics to get where I needed to get, and which topics I could leave out, and still have the program achieve the results my client needed.

I love quotes because so often, whenever I remember to actually look at them, there is one that jumps out to remind me of what I need to know. To take a break, to look at things differently, to not try so hard, to try harder…to come at my problem from a different level and see what appears.

When there seems to be no solution for your problem at hand, step away to get a bigger picture – and then approach your challenge from a different viewpoint and level.

Where are you too stuck in your problem and how can you get out? What is a different level from which you can view things? What inspiration can you draw on to get you there?
Click here to leave a comment.

If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

Click here to receive The Thoughtful Leaders™ Blog posts via e-mail and receive a copy of “Ending Leadership Frenzy: 5 Steps to Becoming a More Thoughtful and Effective Leader.”

Photo Credit: Johannes Plenio/Pexels.com

New York: 212.537.6897 | Pennsylvania: 610.254.0244