The problem in life is often much more simple than whatever we think it is. I have a simple acronym called HALT that helps me to figure out the four basic problems I could have. HALT stands for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. These are the basic problems I could have. From what I’ve seen in my life after using this, these are pretty much the only four problems I have. If I’m not hungry, angry, lonely or tired, it’s hard for me to have any other problem.
Here’s what happens in life. We make all these complicated stories that sound so victimized, holy, or sacred. How often does it break down to just being hungry, angry, lonely, or tired?
I notice this is especially potent with my daughter. She can’t talk yet and the only problems she has are being hungry, angry, lonely or tired. When you lay her down in her crib sometimes by herself, she gets lonely even if everything else is satisfied. When she gets lonely, she gets really mad. When she gets tired lots of times she gets angry. Now that she’s teething she gets angry even if you’re holding her and she’s had a full meal and a good night’s sleep. Those are the basic problems a baby has.
At what point did my life become that much different than a baby? You can make all kinds of arguments and complications. The fact is that the powerful simplicity of hungry, angry, lonely, or tired solves 95% of my problems. Whenever I get irritated or uncomfortable, I use this mental shortcut. The first thing I check is how hungry, angry, lonely, or tired I am. 95% of the time when I have any problem, the answer is one of these.
I asked that question and I saw that I haven’t eaten. Then, I had lunch and every problem I has was gone. Anything that might have been wrong was solved simply by having something to eat. It’s obvious and simple. That’s why it’s great! No matter what problem you’re having, you can solve it by checking whether you’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. That, to me, is a gigantic relief. I don’t have to make things complicated.
Sometimes, I will tell my mom I’m not in a good mood and she asks why. Honestly if it’s not hungry, angry, lonely or tired, I feel good telling her I don’t know. If it’s not that simple, then I don’t know what the problem is. If it’s not easy for me to figure it out, there’s no point in going deeper with it. If I can’t fix it by having something to eat or going to bed or finding someone to hang out with or looking at why I’m angry, then there’s not much I can do about it.
Usually if I’m having a complicated problem, it boils down to lonely or angry. Hungry and tired are easy to figure out. There are a lot of studies that show, that people make bad decisions when they are hungry and tired. In fact there’s one great one for court sentencing. I saw a study that shows that judges gave out harsher decision before lunchtime. They were more likely to give long sentences before lunchtime because they were hungry. Judges are human just like you are and I am.
If you have to go to court at some point, I hope you can arrange it so it’s not right before lunchtime because the judge is likely to issue a harsher sentence. If you can see how ridiculous that is, and how true it is at the same time, then you can find the power of this solution. Instead of going off and getting nasty with your friends because you’re tired, just say I’m going to go to bed. Try to solve the problems instead of trying to live with the problem.
I played League of Legends, and we played till about 5am. We were cranky, mean, raging in the last three hours of playing each other. At the time, I didn’t use that hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. I went to bed frustrated and worrying about my friendships. I was wondering what went wrong. Now, it’s so easy to see I’m tired. It’s that simple, I was tired.
A lot of my biggest frustrations in life were being lonely and angry. Being lonely and angry can often take a lot more work to get into and to figure out why am I so angry. Some of the most powerful solutions can come from asking yourself why you’re angry.
My wife said that she could see I was a wonderful guy that I was lonely lots of times. I needed to find a lot more help I needed to find a bigger community to be a part of. Learning about how potent loneliness is, I realized that I must be a part of an active community all the time. I know that isolating can be a part of my well being and I can see when I don’t want to do something.
The first step is to see that you are angry. If you don’t see that you’re being angry there’s nothing you can do about it. If you don’t see that you are being angry there’s no hope. Once you see that you’re angry that might motivate you to find out why you’re so angry. It’s a beautiful thing to have self awareness the way I do today.
There have been times in my life where I didn’t have self awareness and it was confusing, it was frustrating. It was full of me trying to compensate by acting like a know-it-all. I knew nothing about myself and I tried to overcompensate by acting like I knew it all. I ended up with lot of frustration and a lot of hurt feelings.
I’m making this today because I want you to have a better life than that. I realize you are a person that’s a lot like me and I want you to have the chance for the best life you can have.
I pray that I remember Hungry-Angry-Lonely-and-Tired today. I pray that when I think of a problem to first consider whether I’m Hungry-Angry-Lonely-and-Tired and try to solve the problem I can see. I pray that you have the same opportunity today to use Hungry-Angry-Lonely-and-Tired today to help you have peace of mind. Thank you for reading this and I value your feedback on it. Have a wonderful day.