Getting Unlikely Advice from Your Enemies

As I have said before in another post, the hardest problems to solve involve problems about ourselves. Personal problems are hard to solve because they are personal and close to us. We can lose objectivity. It is hard to judge ourselves because sometime we just cannot believe we are capable of doing something or believing something. But often by just changing the way we think, we can start dealing with personal problem honestly and work towards finding a solution.
An Arab philosopher once said, "If you want to know your faults, listen to your enemies". Why do you think he said that? Because our true enemies constantly look for them! We often react to negative comments with well, more negativity.  Or it could be the other way. We may have been taught to reject all forms of negativity to the point of almost denying their existence. But in reality, negativity exists. That is what I got from Newton's Law. People say bad things for all sorts of reasons. They may be jealous of our success. There are others who are not satisfied with their own success that they feel by denying others it will enhance theirs. People use negativity as way of getting attention. It is not that they themselves are negative. They are merely using negativity as a means to gain attention. They may even want to be part of what we are doing or be part of our group and it is their way of drawing attention to themselves with the hope of being included.
A good way to approach negative comments is to first listen to the negative comments. Then repeat them to people you trust. This can be a  good friend or someone who has advised you in the past. This someone should be willing to tell you the truth no matter how bad it is. If you don't have either of them, look for yourself. Ask yourself "am I so and so?" Think of ways or events that it could be true. Be honest. Nobody is listening but yourself. If so, don't beat yourself up. Everybody makes mistakes. Now that you know what they are, isn't it easier to avoid them?
If you are still not sure or feel you can't judge yourself, try this: think of what a person like that would do. Think about someone has done that bad thing or has that negative trait. Give this person a name, imagine how the person looks like. Make him real. Now image that person having that fault. Now replace that person with yourself and image you doing the same thing. Now think, have you ever done that?

Define Your Success

Let's start with this: Everybody wants something. At any given time of the day, if you think to yourself, "What do I want now?", you would probably have an answer. Most people can identify success. Success is defined by everybody in their own way. We take a look an object or observe a situation, we can come to a conclusion of whether the object or situation represents success. So success is an opinion rather than something absolute. We can identify it even better the more we desire success. A majority of us can agree to what success is and that forms a social norm. Something everybody can agree on that is good becomes something that is desirable by all.
However, as we agree with others, we tend to discredit readily other forms or opinions of what success is. We may also tend to discard our own personal ideas of success and replace them with what most people agree what success is. The agreement or argument can harden over time.We would find justifications as to why the commonly accepted view of success is best. We become more inflexible. Eventually, there is an acceptance that the way it is right now, is good enough. This over time would make the definition of success grow narrower and narrower. This would hinder solving problems. When success is narrowly defined, the options and means to achieve success and solve the problem also narrows.
But what if you disagree? What if success as defined by the majority is too limiting. What if you can see another way of defining success? You could have a solution that involves expanding the definition of success or requires an unconventional way of achieving success. Is your opinion worth any less than the majority?

Finding the Direction from Problem to Solution

What if I told you I call tell you where you are now? The answer is simple, you are here, wherever here is. Sort of a cheap shot but I do have a point. Very often, when helping people with problems, they tell me that they are stuck, that they don't know where to go from 'here' or what to do next.
I always begin by asking them the same thing, "Where are you now?" and "Where do you want go?". Most of the times they can answer one or the other but not both. They can tell me what is it they have now or what is it that they want. If they can answer both, they are on the right track. They know where they are and can describe the condition that they are in. They know what they want and what they can find once they reach there. All it takes at this point is go into the details. Depending on the answer given to the question "Where are you now?" they can either go into the details of the problem in Step2 or start finding possible solutions in Step3. Sometimes, it is also useful to ask "Where were you before?". Why? If you knew the way you came, which led to the current problem, you would know to avoid going down the same road in the future.