Anatomy of problem solving

We all seem to have more problems than we need. We can resolve many of them without any trouble, but once in a while a really difficult situation comes along that just won’t yield to our best efforts to get rid of them.

Our initial reaction is to resist them, put up a protective wall and confront it is an enemy with which we feel we must do battle. Now the struggle begins. This confrontational approach to problem solving is negative and can produce only negative results; we find ourselves producing more frustration, anxiety, stress and fear than solutions.

Is there an alternative? Indeed there is. Let’s take a close analytical view of problem solving and see what’s really going on here. To be successful we must first accept the fact that the “old” ways are less than effective so any new approach must be a departure from accepted traditional methods.

Look at the world around you and recognize that we live in a world of opposites. We have up & down, short & tall, assets & liabilities, abundance & lack, profits & losses, positive & negative, freedom & bondage, etc., etc., etc. I don’t believe you can think of anything that does not have an implied opposite. Webster defines “opposites” as, “elements that are so far apart and diverse as to be totally irreconcilable one to the other”.

If, then, one of these elements is negative, defined by Webster as, “something that is the opposite or negation of something”, its opposite must be positive, which Webster defines as, “that which is real, not speculative, not fictitious and logically affirmative”.

As we think about it, we realize that what this is saying is that anything negative (the problem) cannot exist alone but requires a positive something to be negative about. That positive “something” is the solution to our problem. We cannot have a problem unless its solution is already available. All we need do is learn how to access it.

To solve any problem, then, we must discipline ourselves to see it only as a negation or unawareness of the answer we are seeking and which already exists. How do we access this? By calmly rejecting that which presents itself to us as a problem, (“an intricate, unsettled question without an answer” [Webster]) as not a “something” we give reality to and quietly search our mind with a “listening” positive expectancy and be responsive to the answer that will present itself to you in this positive mental environment.

Consider the procedure you use when confronted with 2 plus 2 = 8. To resolve this error, you do not focus your efforts on trying to understand the “8” but you reject it and draw on the truth that only a “4” belongs at the end of 2 plus 2. The problem is “solved”.

I know how abstract, unrealistic and impractical this approach sounds, but for many years I have proven its viability in my own personal and professional experiences and to the benefit of a widely diverse client base that has included many of the giants of American business. This revolutionary approach to problem solving is predicated on natural laws and principles which Webster defines as, “the creative and controlling forces of the universe”. Such a condition is absolute and irrevocable. It is the law.

Anger, a new age ailment?

Terrorism may be a larger issue but even in our daily lives, it is clear that people are increasingly angry. Why is that? Anger can be caused by external or internal events. You could be angry with a specific person, such as a co-worker or supervisor. You could be furious about an event, say, a traffic jam or issues in relationships. Or your anger could be caused by worrying about and brooding on your personal problems. Traumatic memories can also trigger angry feelings.

But the sad truth is that fury and intolerance bear away a man’s good reason. It is true that intolerance is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one. In fact, intolerance is the fret, fury and frenzy of the soul. Intolerance is hard to combat because it is willing to buy revenge with a whole life. But controlling the intolerance of one angry moment may mean avoiding a lifetime’s remorse. Shakespeare was entirely accurate when he wrote in Coriolanus; “Anger’s my meat; I sup upon myself!” To be angry is to take revenge upon ourselves for the faults of others.

Anger can surface without warning in the most loving and long-standing relationships. When a childhood friend suddenly flares up over something totally innocuous, it is better to ignore the angry present and focus instead on the harmonious past. Anger makes people insensible, be it a good friend or sibling.

Anger is an emotional state that varies in intensity from mild irritation to intense fury and rage. Anger is accompanied by physiological and biological changes. when we get angry, our heart rate goes up and the blood pressure rises, as do energy hormone levels, pumping adrenaline and noradrenaline into the system.

Is anger becoming a 21st century affliction? Some say these changing times make people workaholic and egoistic. Modern life may see many more expressions of anger than before, but could it be that we simply know about them now because the world’s information flow has multiplied to enormous levels? Or could there have been lots of unexpressed anger in earlier times?

Medically speaking, people who remain intolerant and angry most of the time are most susceptible to hypertension and related heart/brain diseases. Re-living unsuccessful or humiliating situations over and over can prove bad for one’s health. Simply remembering an incident that once made you angry can be stressful for the heart.

Often, terrible hurt owing to intolerance takes just minutes to inflict but forgiving the perpetrator requires time. Initially, we experience negative feelings such as anger, sadness and shame. then we try to make sense of what happened. Ultimately we learn to see the person who hurt us through new eyes.

So what is to be done to face angry people? the best way to feel better is the very opposite of revenge. It is saying the words, “I forgive you.” That could be the most powerful things we will ever do. Forgiving doesn’t mean giving in. It means letting go.

Once we forgive, we are no longer emotionally handcuffed to the person who hurt us. when we forgive, we reclaim our power to choose. One can express once’s anger, disappointment or intolerance with a trusted friend or counselor, giving us the strengthening experience of being heard. That is a way to let go of one’s feeling without the danger of saying or doing any thing we will later regret. It is equivalent of punching a pillow. Keeping a journal could help.

If at all you are feeling furious, you can try these things,

– Breathe deeply, from your diaphragm; breathing from your chest won’t relax you.

– Picture your breath coming up from your gut. Slowly repeat a calm word or phrase such as “relax”, “take it easy”. Repeat while breathing deeply.

– Use imagery; visualize a relaxing experience, from memory or imagination.

– Gentle and slow exercises can relax your muscles and make you feel much calmer.

– You could also try the stress buster machines at your nearest gym or spa.