The English dictionary defines problems as matters or situations perceived as unwelcome and harmful, needing to be dealt with and overcome.
There is no such thing as a problem-free life. Everybody has at least one problem to deal with on any given day, and most people are likely to spend the majority of their lives encircled by all kinds of problems.
The fact is, that by the day we will wave goodbye to this world, we will have come face to face with all sorts of problems, trying to discover solutions to get rid of them, struggling towards overcoming them, and inventing ways to avoid dealing with them ever again.
However, for every problem we overcome, two more seem to manifest, just like the heads of the Lernaean Hydra in the second of Hercule’s Twelve Labors.
To beat the beast, Hercules had to alter his perception and think out of the box, using fire to scorch the neck stumps after each decapitation. Hercules cut off each head and cauterized the open stumps in order to prevent each head from regrowing and multiplying.
While we can’t use fire to solve our problems (unless of course, our problems consist of cooking dinner, getting warmer, or having to kill a big-ass, multi-headed beast), we can merge our creative and out of the box thinking with an altered, clearer attitude towards mastering the art of problem solving.
The first step towards solving a problem is recognizing its existence, so to master the art of problem-solving, we first have to discover the origin of problems.
Rising of The Problem Mind
Once again, as the English dictionary states, problems are matters or situations perceived as unwelcome and harmful, needing to be dealt with and overcome.
Thus, problems are not problems by themselves, problems are what are perceived by us as problems.
They are a conditioned mind’s creation, but a conditioned mind isn’t present since day one. It rises and shapes itself as we grow up and begin mirroring the conditioning and limits of those around us.
Youngsters are being constantly told that they “have” to do things, can’t do other things, or that they have to do those things in a specific manner, as taught by the grown-ups.
When the kids skillfully wonder “but why?”, adults are always eager to impart limited-minded, grown-up, full of wisdom answers such as “because that is the right thing to do” or “because that ‘s what everyone else is doing”.
This is extremely limiting and bit by bit, problems seem to arise more frequently and develop more complicated and hard-to-solve. This happens not due to the problems themselves, but rather as a result of the limits that are forced upon us. Problems don’t become harder to solve… We become more incapable of dealing with them.
As children we are not able to consciously filter anything, so we absorb like sponges every single bit of conditioning. Growing up, we constantly keep looking for ways to limit ourselves, because that’s what is programmed in our minds; we slowly accumulate and build up more limits and eventually become as limited as the limited minds that implanted limits into us in the first place, if not more.
The more I delve into the depths of myself, the more aware I become that almost everything “grown-ups” have taught me is limiting and undermining my power to think for myself since what I was taught was what to think instead of how to think.
This results in losing our ability to develop original thinking patterns. Thinking becomes automatic, fixed, and unbendable instead of free, flexible and wide.
When thinking becomes fixed, so do become our actions. And as long as we keep acting a fixed way, we are doomed to keep failing to solve most of those problems and start accumulating more and more of them.
The roots of every problem originate inside our mind, how long they persist depends on our current state of mind, and how well we can deal with them directly correlates with our ability to see beyond the limits of our conditioning; to think outside the box.
Every problem of has infinite solutions and there exist literally infinite ways to start living a trouble-free life… You just aren’t aware of them yet!
Stay tuned for the second part of the Mastering The Art of Problem Solving series. The verdict has yet to come!