Problem-Solving 101

August 8, 2018



Let's have a little chat about the difference between circumstances and thoughts. 


I define circumstances as the things outside of us,


many of which are outside of our control.


Other's people's behavior.


The weather.




A health diagnosis.


Circumstances are neutral. 


They are simply the facts of a situation,


without meaning or emotion or opinions added to them.


They aren't "good" or "bad",


"positive" or "negative"


until we attach a thought to them. 


And we get to choose what we want to think about any given circumstance.


A thought is the meaning we add to any given circumstance.


Thoughts generate our feelings, 


which drive our actions, 


which create our results.


Let's take the following circumstance:


You lost your job today. 


That's just the fact of the situation.


It's a neutral circumstance.


See that?




your thought about losing your job might be 


"This is devastating! How will pay the bills?"


or it might be


"This is just the push I need to finally start my own business. Bring it on."


These two different thoughts will create very different emotions and drive very different actions, now won't they?


Now, I'm not saying that one thought is better than the other. 

But one will likely create fear and overwhelm.


And the other will likely create drive and determination.


The point is, 


you get to decide what you want to think about any given circumstance.

And those thoughts generate feelings


which fuel actions


which create the results in your life.


What results are you creating in your life?


I'm definitely not saying that we want to feel happy or peaceful about every circumstance in the world or in our lives.


When I think about child abuse, 


I don't want to be happy. 


I want to feel a sense of injustice.


That injustice can drive me to take action. 


So we have circumstances---


and we have thoughts about those circumstances.


Those thoughts generate feelings, 


which drive actions, 


which create results in our lives. 


This concept is known as the CTFAR model.


It was created by Brooke Castillo,


And it's a way to see concretely just what you are creating in your life. 


C: Circumstance


T: Thoughts about circumstance


F: Feelings created by your thoughts.


A: Action you take, driven by your feelings


R: Result you get, based on your actions. 


You can plug any problem into this model and discover why you are getting the result you are getting. 


{Hint: it's because of what you're thinking}


Now here's the catch:


The result must be YOUR result. 


You can't control other people.


So putting their thoughts and their actions into the model---


and trying to get your result...


it won't work. 


Your model. 


Your thoughts, feelings, actions, and results. 


Got it?


Let's do one more model:


This is one I've been working on changing in my own life:


Circumstance: My kids are out of school for summer break.


Thought: They are driving me crazy!


Feeling: Frustrated


Action: Lose my temper with them, act annoyed.


Result: My kids drive me crazy.


but I'm working on changing my model to this:


C: My kids are out of school for summer break (notice the circumstance stays the same)


T: I wonder how I can make today fun...


F: Curious


A: I look into finding fun things to do in our area; I invite friends to join us


R: I bring the fun to our summer. 


See how my circumstance didn't change, but my thought about it did?


And that in turn created a whole new result for me. 


Now it's your turn. 


Plug your situation into the model and see what you discover. 




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