Dawood had been imprisoned and tortured in Iraq. He’d successfully escaped and made his way to Australia, but his problems were far from over. His social worker identified him as suffering from sleep problems, debt, gambling, relationship difficulties, a highly chaotic lifestyle and possibly depression.
“Avoidance Mode” thinking would have him investigate each of these problems in great detail, and try and find ways to fix each of them. But can you imagine how long that would take? And what it would feel like?
Firstly, Andrew respected Dawood’s view of the situation. Dawood’s principal concern was the bottle of spirits he was drinking each day… and how that made him feel weak as a man. (Notice that neither of these had been obvious to the social worker).
Secondly, Andrew asked him an approach mode question: “What do you think needs to happen to get your life on track?”
Dawood’s answer might surprise you: “I need to start painting.”
Within two weeks he had stopped drinking, and six months later he held a public exhibition.
You see, it turned out that Dawood was a fine arts graduate from Baghdad University, and what he really needed was to establish this strength in his new home.
So what’s the moral of the story?
When facing difficulty, even extreme difficulty, don’t get lost inside it. Remember about the rest of life too.
Remember what brings out the best in you. Because when you’re in touch with your strengths, it’s so much easier to deal with difficulties.