You Cannot Solve a Problem at the Level of the Problem

The problem with problems is that they can put you in a physiological state that is completely unproductive for problem-solving.

Think of a problem that you have right now in your life: career, relationship, home, ambition, health…

As you ponder that problem, as you think about how bothersome it is and you don’t know how to solve it, notice what happens in your body.

Is there any tension that arises? Perhaps in your neck or face or heart or gut? What happens to your breath? Is it harder to breathe? How about your thoughts? Do you feel clear or jumbled in your head? Negative or positive?

If you are noticing any symptoms of stress, negativity or overwhelm, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

You cannot effectively solve a problem at the level of the problem. You are on the wrong wavelength and will only spiral into more problematic “solutions”… digging yourself a deeper hole.

When Einstein was plagued with an unsolvable problem you know what he did? Picked up his violin and started playing, or took a long meandering walk. He moved away from the problem and instead created a “state change” inside himself through a different activity.

By stepping out of the energetic field of the problem, he would avail himself to the possibility of a solution. And the solution would often arise when he least expected ~ as when the theory of relativity bubbled up while he was in the bathtub.

So here is something you might want to try to access a solution to any and all of your “problems”…

Pick a problem, any problem. Then:

First, notice the bummer energy around the problem. Feel how your body reacts to it. Take note of all the physiological cues such as stress/tension/weakness that show you that you’re totally unfit to positively solve it.

Second, clearly define the problem. State for yourself the issue that needs solving. Write it down and put it in a special place.

Third, step away from the problem. Admit to yourself that you do not presently have the skills nor mindset to proactively handle it. You’re out of your league.

Fourth, go do something else that brings about a completely different energy inside of you. Do something beautiful and uplifting. Or something that brings you peace, warmth or lightness of being. This is not to deny the “problem”, it is to intervene with a new creative force.

Fifth, wait patiently. At some point a solution will arise ~ you’ll have an aha! through dream or insight…. Or someone will give you great advice…. or some clue from the world will show up in your experience on how to proceed… or no solution will arise yet. Which means your system isn’t done sorting. And you’ve got to keep waiting patiently.

Bonus: you can always take action to get more information ~ seek out a book or expert to better educate yourself. Or ask great questions of another person involved. Then if the answer still doesn’t arise, go back to dancing pirouettes in a field of wildflowers… or chopping wood for the fireplace… or whatever else brings you into a sweet, strong non-problematic state.


Photo: Felix Russell-Saw

3 thoughts on “You Cannot Solve a Problem at the Level of the Problem

  1. williamhargreaves says:

    Inspirational, and I completely agree. Love the anecdote about Einstein – didn’t know that.

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