solving problems

Solving Problems -
the Power in a Different Perspective

Ignore the Instructions

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My exclamation was involuntary, "Oh bother!" Actually, those aren't quite the words I used. I'd just dropped my glass shampoo bottle in the shower, and it had shattered!

The tiled floor of the men's shower in the University student building was now covered in broken glass, so I asked someone to stop anyone else cutting their feet, and went to find a broom.

Although the attendant was relatively kind about my stupidity, I felt like a real idiot. Not only because I had dropped the glass bottle, but I'd also ignored the notice. The new notice. The new notice that he'd posted at the entrance to the shower. The notice saying "Use plastic bottles only!"

But I was young, and figured I knew everything - a few months at university had done little but increase my arrogance. Since I didn't drop things, I just knew that it didn't apply to me.
A plastic shampoo bottle does not break
The sign was clearly visible and I logically understood that plastic bottles were a good idea. My shampoo container was glass. I knew that shampoo can make glass slippery, so I understood that being careful was important.

But understanding is not real knowing, so I guess I needed to remedy my deficiency! Once I'd broken the glass bottle, I knew that a plastic bottle was better - from experience.

My mind had told me that I knew all about it, yet I didn't follow through. So was it true that I knew? If you really do know, don't you do it?

With this experience, my understanding changed to real authentic knowing and I changed to plastic. I have never taken a glass bottle into a shower again.
It was actually funny. I laughed out loud when I remembered this incident and realized how arrogant I'd been when young. The number of times I'd insisted that I did know - even when I didn't. There's an authentic message in that wonderful bumper sticker:

Hire a teenager - while they think they know it all!

Many years ago, I used to think that the logic of all my thoughts was irresistible. Once I’d learned anything about a subject, no matter how little, I became rather opinionated in thinking I knew it all. Okay, okay, I admit it - I used to be very opinionated.

Everybody Thinks They Know

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"All my mistakes have made me an expert in overcoming stress and self-sabotage," I explained years later to a friend. "So I write about stress and self-sabotage. Yet the problem is that people actively seeking to stop their self-sabotage seem to be rather limited. How do I find them?"
Asking Advice from a Colleague
"So don't just write about self-sabotage, write about something else," urged Verne. "You can write articles about anything."

I had no immediate answer to this seemingly sensible advice. Verne thought he had made a valid suggestion, but had demonstrated a profound lack of wisdom instead.

Do I have experience in overcoming stress and self-sabotage? Yes indeed, I’ve had lots - lots - of practice! The authenticity of those
experiences have brought me much wisdom. But experience with one thing, such as reducing stress, does not translate to everything else. It actually has little to do with being effective at anything else...

We all know of politicians who insist their policies are working while continuing to ignore the evidence of failure all around them. Your thoughts about an issue will seem entirely rational - "being right" is a very common disease!

As a teenager, I didn’t understand this perspective at all. Many people don't! They think that because their bodies have grown up, they automatically acquire adult perspectives in the process.

Take Responsibility for Your Stress

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Do you really want to reduce your stress? Then take responsibility for it! Which means taking 100% responsibility for your part in what has happened. For your actions, as well as your lack of action. This is good news, for with responsibility comes personal power. Until you take responsibility, then you have no power to change the situation. So accept your responsibility in the matter!

Remember, even though your part in it may be tiny, you did contribute in some way. Either through your actions, or perhaps simply through inaction. So even if you've done nothing to cause the situation directly, you still have some responsibility in the matter.

A Cause of Stress

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One cause of stress is thinking that something should be different to the way it is. But reality is the way it is - so accepting reality as it is right now is a big key to reducing stress. This is not to say that you may not be able to change things in the future, in the next second, or hour, or week, or year... but right now things are the way they are. There's tremendous power in acceptance.

When Google refused to continue advertising our breakthrough because this website was making "inaccurate or misleading claims", I accepted this as their reality. Although their consultant's opinion was mistaken, that was what he thought. Many people would have stressed about the implications of his mistake, but I know why stress occurs and how acceptance helps eliminate it.

The problem was that he thought he was right. But he came to his conclusion from just reading about our experiential breakthrough, rather than trying it out for himself. And he continued to decline to actually try it out! So he had absolutely no experience, once again demonstrating that casual understanding - just knowing about something - is very different to authentic knowledge.

So I simply asked myself why he might think that way, and then improved the explanations, expanded the caveat, and made the vast evidence for our methodology more visible. Google then rechecked our site and "found that it is currently in compliance with all our landing page and site policy guidelines. As a result, your website is re-enabled."

What a great way to demonstrate the effectiveness of this breakthrough in reducing stress!

A New Perspective may initially seem wrong

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We all know what we know. A very obvious statement. Yet the other side of this same statement is - We don't know what we don't know. And the implications of this are tremendous. There's immense potential here. It tells you that to become more effective you need to find out what you don't know.

Rather than asserting that you know all there is to know, you need to be willing to accept that your current perspective may be limited. Remember that

Differences make the difference!

Climbing to a Higher Viewpoint will Reduce your Stress
So put in the effort to understand what you've missed so far in the new perspective. Of course, you don't understand it yet so it will seem wrong. You will only think it is right when you agree with it, and since it's new and different, how could you agree?

You only get to understand a new perspective when you are willing, temporarily, to abandon your current one. For now, you have to give up being right. Not for ever, just for now. Be willing to be open-minded and see where it goes, even when it seems ridiculous or stupid. Especially when it seems just plain wrong.

The Power of Thoughts

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The thoughts your mind gives you can be very stressful, yet do you believe them all? It can be tempting to think your thoughts are infallible, so which thoughts should you believe? The simple answer is none of them! Whenever you believe something without checking it out, you are vulnerable to being deceived.

The word for someone who believes everything without checking it out for themselves is gullible. You probably know this already, but you're perhaps not aware that this also applies to the thoughts that your mind gives you. Remember, you're not your mind - you're you - and your mind is simply the part of you that you use to think, in the same way that your body is the part of you that you use to carry you around.

When hijacked by the self-sabotage mechanism, the mind can give you all sorts of negative thoughts. When you automatically believe its thoughts, they can be very stressful. Believing something without bothering to check it out is the definition of being gullible!

The key to reducing your stress is to stop believing your mind implicitly. Explore the more stressful thoughts to see which ones are proven true and which ones are not. Discarding the untrue ones - as well as the doubtful ones - will eliminate the stress they cause.

If you stop believing your mind, then you'll find that the untruths and the half truths it gives you don't matter, and your stress will subside. Then you'll be more content with yourself and the way your life is unfolding. Remember, when you don't mind it doesn't matter. So learn how not to mind!

Transcend, rather than accept or reject

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Old Beliefs can be Very Stressful
You move forward neither by completely rejecting the old, nor the new. You transcend by going beyond. Some parts of your old perspective contains much of value that you will wish to retain, they served you well.

Yet other parts are stressful, they negatively impact your current results. So you may wish to modify these to become more effective.

Now everybody likes being right. You hang on tenaciously to your old beliefs whether they serve you or not. Perhaps because you do not want to make yourself wrong them by rejecting them completely. You may think that you must totally accept - or totally reject - the old.

But despite the misleading thoughts that the self-sabotage mechanism will try to get you to believe, that is not the only choice you have! You transcend when you enlarge - and your new larger perspective can combine the best of the new as well as the best of the old.

Create a Larger Perspective

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Your new understanding enables you to review your current viewpoint and see which parts no longer work. You do not have to reject everything in order to move past the ineffective parts. You modify and make it work better. You integrate the new with the old to come up with a wider perspective. You realize that your old perspective was not wrong, just incomplete.

Once you've understood the new different perspective, you can decide what is right for you now. So contemplate, reflect on your new understandings. Re-examining your conclusions - thinking for yourself - enables you to stop giving your power away. Choose which is now right for you:
1. Your original viewpoint

2. The new viewpoint, or

3. Integrating both to arrive at another yet higher perspective
You contemplate to arrive at a wider, more effective, perspective. This ensures your new perspective is the most powerful that you currently know about. The exploration ensures that you enlarge your personal power. Which produces both more desirable results - as well as less stress.

Wanna Reduce your Stress?

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Choose your next step right now:

Food for Thought

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"Character isn't inherited.
One builds it daily by the way one thinks and acts, thought by thought, action by action.

Helen Douglas (1900-1980), American actress, opera singer, and politician

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