Life on planet Earth is riddled with problems. Little problems, big problems, we all have them, pretty much every day.

But what matters isn’t the problem, it’s the solution! And oh, how easy it is to lose sight of that. My phones went down a couple of months ago. Since we don't get cell reception where I live, I am completely dependent on my landlines. That's why I have two of them, in case one of them goes wacky. Except this time both lines went out, and given how important communication is in my line of work, I was in full-blown panic mode.

All I could think of was “What if one of my clients can’t reach me?” Sure, there’s email, but much of my work and other matters rely on the phone. What if there’s an emergency like a fire (common in our area) and I can't phone out? I couldn’t even call the phone company to get my phones fixed! How’s that for ironic? Problem, problem, problem. No thought at all for the solution. Way too much “poor me” going on . . .

And then I remembered Autumn Michels and Rachael Steffens. Autumn, at 14 years old, has been blind since a brain tumor was removed when she was 4, which saved her life but deprived her of sight. She adjusted beautifully, navigating her home, school and environment with her cane, but when it came to her desire to play her clarinet with her school’s marching band . . . well, you can imagine the “problem.” Only no one at her school focused on the problem, they went straight to the solution. Volunteers were found to stand behind Autumn during the marching portion of the band’s activities, guiding her on the field by her shoulders.
However, volunteers come and go, and learning to guide Autumn wasn’t all that easy. But Autumn struck up a friendship with Rachael, a percussionist in the band, and the fun they had together led to Rachael sitting out marching activities to be Autumn’s regular marching guide, restricting her own playing to when the band was in the stands. Solution, solution, solution.

Nowhere in any of this was anyone going “Poor Autumn” -- much less Autumn, who according to family and friends, just doesn’t go there. Nor was anyone, including Rachael, moaning “Poor Rachael,” she enjoys helping her friend.

Stories like this remind me to get off my pity-party whenever a problem hits, and turn as quickly as possible to the solution. Because there always is a solution. How soon we get there simply depends on our willingness to turn our attention squarely in that direction.

And oh yes, once I got myself into solution-mode I did resolve my phone issue: wi-fi calling! Who knew? So now I have a backup to the land-lines (which did get fixed, a month later), peace of mind, and a wonderful way of reminding myself of Solution! Solution! Solution!

Thank you Autumn and Rachael.

Author's Bio: 

Noelle C. Nelson, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, consultant, popular speaker in the U.S. and abroad, and author of over a dozen best-selling books. Dr. Nelson focuses on how we can all enjoy happy, fulfilling lives while accomplishing great things in love, at home and at work, as we appreciate ourselves, our world and all others. She is the author of “Happy Healthy…Dead: Why What You Think You Know About Aging Is Wrong and How To Get It Right” (MindLab Publishing). You Matter. You Count. You Are Important. Visit,, #MeetTheAmazings, @drnoellenelson