Often we deal with the effects of problems rather than dealing with the underlying cause. For example, low self confidence may be the result of experiencing a run of negative setbacks; low self-esteem may be due to years of bullying; and procrastination may be due to not wanting to do the work. Here, attacking the effect won’t really work in the end. It’s usually more effective to deal with the root cause. So what can you do to uncover the root cause?
1. First, recognise that the problem is rarely the problem. That is, in most cases an external effect points to an internal cause – so, we need to look at our past experience, the kinds of choices we’ve made, our basic attitudes and beliefs, and all the different traits that make up our personality. Any, or all of these, could play a role – and contribute to the problem we are dealing with now.
2. Look for patterns. Where has something similar happened to you in the past? What was happening at the time? What were you thinking? How did you react/ what did you say and do? What were your basic core beliefs? This is often one of the most valuable exercises we can engage in – for uncovering common denominators and root causes of problems.
3. Compare your experience to other peoples’ experiences. This can help to challenge our “automatic” conclusions, highlights general norms, shows us the bigger picture, and help us identify similarities and differences between ourselves and others.
4. Listen to what your intuition or subconscious mind is telling you. Often we try to push down that inner voice – and miss invaluable lessons and truths.
5. Work on growing in your self-understanding. Many individuals just drift through life without really knowing who they are, or what they’re like. Thus, increasing our self-knowledge can provide many keys to what is going on, and the different reasons “why”.