Don't Solve Your Problems, Spoil Them
I don’t believe in problems, I believe in perspectives. Skip the small stuff and ask yourself, what has to be true for this problem to exist?
A problem usually comes in three parts, yes just like a fiction, just like a story. Beginning, middle and end. Origin, route, and destination. How the world is and the various things that either stand in the way, and the way you want it to be.
But most problems you face don’t happen on the level of the problem, but on the level of your perspective. And perspective is meant in a deeper sense than just looking at the same scene from a different angle.
I don’t attack problems head on. If something takes a lot of effort, I can be almost certain that I’m approaching it the wrong way. Yet, I must also say that there is no right way. Because it’s not about finding the way, but about making the ways you know of redundant.
How do we get from how the world is to how the world should be? How do we resolve the conflict without making ourselves the conflict? The nexus of any problem is where the two incompatible strands of the conflict clash.
Ordinarily, we will try to think of a solution and apply it to the problem. If the solution doesn’t work, the usual practice is to do more of the same. The philosophy of, when the nail won’t go in, use a bigger hammer.
All problems are constructions. All problems exist in the gap between what should and what is. What keeps problems fixed in place is respect for them. Disrespect your problems. Don’t ignore them, but challenge their very preconditions.
Once you understand how your perspective not only creates the problem but also consolidates it, you can release the hold it has on you and dissolve its charge. That is the art of spoiling a problem rather than solving it. Paradoxically, this happens not where the problem happens to you but where the problem happens, period.
Most people have a tendency to fall for the exclusivity bias. That is the compulsion to think of what’s on their mind as the only thing that is relevant or even possible.
Generally, assumptions and almost all dogmas feed off this bias. It was famously said that, ‘If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said they want a faster horse’, by Henry Ford.
No truth is fixed, no reality exhaustive, no idea absolute, no principle ultimate. Because inherent in the vast possibilities of constructing reality is the potential for a perspective that gives you more of what you want with less effort.
It’s not about having a few cute affirmations to drill yourself a mindset, it’s about being beyond your mindset and suspending it all together.
It’s about appreciating not just the whole, but the very fragile foundation you can’t see. The problem will appear immutable and the weakest link elusive, because you are what keeps the problem in place. You are the weakest link and only you can shift it, and thus the reality of the problem.
It’s not by looking at the problem at all, but by looking at its creative force that you can dissolve it. It’s not only easier to change your perspective than to rearrange the vision it gives, but the most sensible. Because the problem is inherent in the perspective you take. Your perspective is its ultimate cause, or if you prefer, its siamese twin.
The magical question is in discovering what fragile and invisible foundation you are consolidating by your embodiment of it.
Something will come up. Some new distinctions will be discovered. And once you begin to ask yourself these questions with ruthless clarity, you will be able to find the very thread that binds your reality into the conflict that you experience as a problem.
It’s not only sometimes, but in most cases, that the most elegant and powerful solutions come from a place you didn’t even think existed when you considered the problem.
It won’t be obvious until you notice what this tiny element, this fragile foundation is that gives rise to the riddle that is your problem. All it asks of you is to be playful enough to disrespect your problem, challenge its preconditions on the level of your perspective, and spoil it by making the smallest yet most powerful shift.