Category Archives: Critical thinking skills

Be Yourself

Some of the wisest words I’ve ever read…

I just read an article about how a stay-at-home mom turned published author, got her big break.  She had apparently written part of a manuscript, then let it gather dust for a while.  An agent was interested in representing her because she had followed her on Twitter.  The agent asked to see whatever writing she had already done.  So, the mom sent her dusty manuscript to the agent.  The agent replied that she could see this woman’s potential as a writer, but thought that she could do better, if she used her own voice.  The voice the writer used on twitter.  In other words, she wanted her to be authentic.  To be the best possible writer, she had to be herself.

For any of us to be the best possible us, we need to be who we are as a person.  There’s no point trying to be someone, or something your not.  If we do this, we will sound inauthentic.  We will not influence the world with our inauthenticity.  As a matter, being something other that who you are just leads to confusion, and may hurt a few people along the way.

World-changers are good at influencing other’s because they are authentic.  We connect with authentic voices because those voices are believable.  We trust what they are saying is true.  We trust this because we know that the person is being themselves.

 I want to be a world-changer.  As of Saturday, I have accepted my identity as a writer.  But, I’m not happy with my voice.  I feel like I am cheating the best parts of myself, by not being myself.  I want to be authentic.  I want to draw people into my circle.  I want move people, and be moved by people.  I want to be who I am, not some idea of who I am.  I am going to start by listing the things I know about myself:
  • I am child of God.
  • I am sassy.
  • I am a natural leader.
  • I am gifted at counseling others.
  • I am a mother.
  • I am wife.
  • I am a know-it-all.
  • I am an artist.
  • I am a writer.
  • I am smart.
  • I am witty.
  • I am a sister.
  • I am a visionary.
  • I am a nerd.
  • I am a good cook.
  • I am an encourager.
  • I am a blogger.

To be sure, there is still plenty of undiscovered country in my brain-scape.  I am sure that I will get to know more of myself as time goes on.  In the meanwhile, I must be who I am.  I must be authentic.

Today I choose to be myself, how about you?

Your turn…

Who are you?

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Nosce te ipsum: Know Yourself

*Author’s note: Before I get started here, I would just like to say, I love it when you come to visit.  Yes, I mean you.  I would love to sit down and have a chat with you.  I would love to hear what you have to say on whatever I write about.  So, if you come by, why not leave me your calling card, or a nice little note that let’s me know you were here?  Frankly, it encourages me to keep doing what I’m doing.  In other words comments are welcome and encouraged here.  I generally leave a little question at the end as a prompt to get a discussion going.  You can answer it, or not, as you prefer.

I had a powerful experience on Saturday that got my juices flowing and the wheels spinning for my little bloggity once again.  The sucky experience that I am having is still sucky and I am still experiencing it.  But, I feel the need to talk about something that I feel is very foundational to overcoming emotional difficulties: knowing yourself.

In “The Matrix” Neo  goes to visit the Oracle to find out if he is “The One” (i.e. the savior of their world).  She points to her little sign in her kitchen (which says Temet Nosce, by the way.  This is just a variation of the phrase) above the doorway and explains to him rather bluntly that if  you are something, you just know it.  You don’t need to be convinced by your friends, you don’t need constant reassurance, you just know it.  I know that I am a good mother.  I know that I am an artist.  I know that I am gifted in counseling others.  I know that I am a Christian.  I don’t need other’s to affirm this, I just know.

I truly feel that I am meant to do this blog, and to write books.  But, one thing I have had a hard time convincing myself of is that I AM a writer.  As in, “this is my identity.”  As in, “Hi.  I’m Stephanie.  I’m a writer”  (Not that I would actually introduce myself that way.  But, I think  you get my point).  I feel a little surprised when people praise my work here on this blog.  Sometimes, I almost don’t believe them.  Silly, I know.

This is mostly because I find writing to be a difficult, sometimes agonizing, experience.    I’m not goo-goo eyed over writing like some authors.  It takes me twice as long as normal people to write anything of worth or significance.  I find it excruciating to get started most of the time.  I find it difficult to maintain my focus once I get going.  I feel guilt for spending 2.5 hours writing 600 words.  I have to manage my ADHD and other learning difficulties to finish my task.  In other words, I just don’t LOVE writing like I love doing other things.  I have asked myself more than once, “How can I BE a writer if I don’t LOVE it?”

This question has stopped me from moving forward in doing the things that I am meant to do.  I just couldn’t see myself doing the things I am meant to do because I couldn’t (or perhaps wouldn’t?) believe in my identity as an writer.

But Saturday changed all of that.  I met with about 4 other people.  2 of whom I have known a really long time, 1 I knew fairly well, and 1 I sort of knew a little.  We met together to encourage each other.  To help each other overcome the log jams stopping us from flowing in our gifts.  I spoke for a while about where I was on a few things, including the I’m-supposed-to write-books-but-can’t-get-started-because-I-don’t-believe-I-am-an-author problem.  The leader of our group (Rob Stoppard.  A great guy, you should check him out) said to me people get stopped up in doing what they are meant to do because they believe lies about themselves.    Lies like “I don’t love writing so how can I be a writer”, or “I am never going to change”, or “I can’t change”, or “I will always be (fill in the blank)“, or whatever you say about yourself.

The only way to combat this is to change your habit of lying to yourself, and start telling yourself the truth.  I think if you look deep in your heart you can find your gifts, your talents, and your identity.  It’s like a treasure box just waiting to be opened, and you hold the key to open that treasure box.  And, if you open it you have to decide what you believe about what’s inside.  You have to decide that the treasure is who you are, or not.  But sometimes, even we do this, we get lost on our way back.  Parts of the treasure get lost and never make it home.  Like me and this writing thing.

The group had me do an exercise that has forever changed my life.  They first asked me to look in the mirror and say out loud to myself, “I am a writer.”  I felt more than a little shy about doing this.  So, they offered themselves up to act as a sort of mirror.  I had to look people in the eye and say out loud, “I am a writer.”  They took it one step further and had me say, “I am a famous writer.”  And although it was a little difficult to look people in the eye and say these truths out  loud, I did just that several times.  I stated a few other things I have had a hard time believing lately as well.  As soon as I said these things, it’s like a spotlight was suddenly focused on my poor, lost treasures.  I could find them, and bring them home.  I could take them within my psyche and revel in the simple pleasure of knowing myself.  It was like being born again.

And now, I feel free to do what I am mean to do.  I believe that I am a writer.  That even I can be a famous writer.

And you are free to discover things about yourself you never knew.  You can go on a quest to find your treasure, to change your life into something better, to become who you are meant to be.

It’s your turn now…

Tell me something you know about yourself…

Trust is better than an orgasm. A blog post on taking risks in relationships…Part 2.

Yes, I said, “orgasm” out loud. I’m a Christian, not a prude.

Last week I wrote on why taking risks was a necessary part of relationships. As I wrote that post, it became evident that there was a second part of relationship risk taking that had to do with choosing who we take that risk with. I think this part really, really counts when calculating risk.

Let’s face it, in most cases our initial attraction to someone else is usually a physical one. We find that other person cute, or funny, or smart, or whatever, but we feel something inside. We feel a rush of excitement, perhaps a little breathless. The urge to find a way to talk to that person becomes tantamount. According to Wikipedia it looks something like this:

That crazy feeling called “love”…

All of these nifty little chemicals on the right side of this diagram give us mostly happy feelings. Nowadays, it’s pretty commonplace to follow our urges to their logical conclusion- a sexual encounter. The chemicals involved in that transaction also introduce a flood of chemicals that make use feel good.

Duh.

However, I think these happiness-inducing chemicals muddy our logic and our ability to think clearly. At the beginning, when we look at that other person we feel those same rush of sensations. And we feel happy. Eventually, those sweeping, romantic feelings, that rush of excitement subside to a degree. Then we are left wondering about this person we are with. Why do they do what they do? Why are they so (insert your word of choice here)? Then we are stuck between a rock and a hard place (sorry, no pun intended), we like how they make us feel, but do we LIKE them?

Relationships are complicated, messy affairs that require an inordinate amount of work to be successful. Trust, communication, compromise, negotiation, kindness, gentleness, are a few of things that make a relationship work. These things take time to build. You have to actually LIKE someone in order to start this process. Call me puritanical if you want to, but I think that starting a relationship based on sex shortcuts the process of getting to know someone, and really liking them for who they are.

In my humble, and unscientific, opinion using logic and thinking clearly are two key elements in choosing someone as a mate. Sure, it’s not as romantic (and fun) as all of the sweep-me-off-my-feet sensations, but I think it’s more important to make wise choices than to be swept off my feet by someone that I’ve just met. And here’s why: the risk of being hurt is higher when I base my desire to be with someone on a physical sensation. That feeling eventually rings hollow.

In my experience, you can be physically attracted to someone, and not even like them. And, if you don’t like someone how can you develop feelings of trust toward them? How can you even communicate clearly with the best interest of your relationship if you don’t feel it’s worth it to try? I mean, really, HOW can you? I don’t think you can. I know I couldn’t. I was physically attracted to my first husband, had sex, got pregnant, then married him. All bad decisions. He was the worst possible kind of person for me. We weren’t even close to being compatible. Yet, because of the sex, I convinced myself he was right for me. I convinced myself that we were “in love” (looking back now I would say we were “in lust”). Then I married him. And, he hurt me in a variety ways, the ultimate hurt being divorce.

I propose that people should take the time to get to know someone BEFORE they get in bed with that someone. I think that people should spend time getting to know that person’s character in a variety of settings. After you have spent some time doing that, then you can make clear, logical choices while calculating the risk of entering into a serious relationship with that person.

Even after you’ve done all of this, you CAN still be hurt. But, I think it less likely to happen because you know this person’s character. You know how they make decisions and why. You know their problems. You know why they are with you. You know if they like you. You know if they are going to stick it out, even when things are rocky. You’ve decided to be with that person based on their character and qualities. A relationship based on trust, is far better than a relationship based on sex. Which, to me, is more important than an orgasm.

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If you read this part, why don’t you leave me a note and let me know you were here? I love it when people say, “Hi!”

My opinion on opinions. Or something like that.

(This a complicated subject that has taken me an inordinate amount of time to write about.  Please forgive any bumbling and incoherent ideas here.  I’m a work in progress.)

I’m a bit riled up about something I keep hearing/seeing on the Internet:

“What other people think of you is none of your business.”

My response to this is, “Oh?  Really?”  I don’t know who said this (Frankly, I don’t  care), but this seems to be in response to that thing that happens when we worry about what other people think of us.  You know, that thing where you start making other people’s opinions more of a priority than your opinion.  As I was researching this statement, I ran across a blog post where a person stated that worrying about another’s opinion is encroaching on someone else’s property.  That’s an interesting notion, but I am not sure I completely agree.  My problem with this kind of statement is that it general enough for people to take too far in the wrong direction.

Having an opinion is part of being human.  You know, “I opinionate (I know, not really a word.  Just go with it.), therefore I am.” Or, something like that.

Here are some facts about opinions:

  • Opinions are like the Force.  There’s a light side, and a dark side.
  • There’s no such thing as a neutral opinion.
  • Opinions frequently smash together like atoms out of control.
  • Opinions can be either helpful, or non-helpful.
  • Helpful opinions can inform and uplift another person.
  • Non-helpful opinions can tear down and disenfranchise another person.
  • Everybody’s got a million of ’em.
  • Some of us (ahem) are more opinionated than others.
  • Some of us (again, ahem) share our opinions more frequently than others.

Need I say more?

The notion that other people’s opinion are none of my business because it’s their intellectual property seems like an overreaction to idea that another’s opinion shouldn’t define who you are.  Yes, only should define who you are.  Yes other’s opinions are just their opinions.  People do use them to hurt, control, and destroy other people.  Those opinions should be ignored, and are none of your business.  But those opinions aren’t the ones I am talking about.

I find  other people’s opinions of me helpful.  Even the bad opinions.  I tend to view other’s opinions as an object I can hold in my hand.  I can look at, ponder it’s meaning, and put it down on the nearest horizontal surface.  It matters to me what other people think of me.   Here’s why: if I am doing something that is a problem in my interpersonal interactions, I need to know so I can work on it.  I need to wonder what other people think of me, because there is always room to grow.  This part of the human need for social order.  We have to define our place, and our contribution to the society we live in.  If we are not actively contributing, or worse causing disruption in, to the society we belong to, we are limiting our capacity  to be fully part of that society.  One has to be discerning and honest about themselves to consider another’s opinion of them.  One needs to be willing to face their own weaknesses and downfalls.  One has to be humble enough to admit to the need for change.

So, don’t swing too far in the wrong direction.  Consider other’s opinions without taking them in and letting them run like schoolchildren with scissors waving frantically in the air.  Make them behave themselves and reveal truth to you.  Talk to those opinions and form your own conclusions.  Make good, honest changes in yourself based on those truths.  Let other’s opinions help to define how you react to the world.

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If you are visiting here, why not leave me a little note to say, “Hi!”?  I’ll say, “Hi!” back!

The Conundrum of Comfort

My computer is about 5 years old.  I have the same screen, mouse, and keyboard. I am used to how the arrows keys seem to stick a little when I push them down.  I am used to the dirt that seems permanently stuck in between each key.  I am used to the fact that the trackball on my mouse no longer works.  I am used to the fact that my mouse pointer frequently “disappears” on my screen.  Not to mention the vertical lines that are randomly spaced on my screen.  I am used to it because this is normal.  And normal can be comforting, no matter how bad normal is for me.  Because it’s what I am used to.  It’s comfortable.  Sometimes I don’t even see the lines when I’m watching something on the computer.

See the lines? Perhaps I should be annoyed.

I really can’t do anything about my faulty equipment because of our faulty financial situation.  Replacing computer parts is expensive (especially because I have a Mac).  Even a new mouse cost $50, which is a huge sum in this house.  That’s equal to a tank of gas, or a few groceries.  So, I tell myself it’s not a big deal.  I do my best to ignore the faults.  I pretend they aren’t there.

My room is pretty crowded what with rather large primates and pachyderms hanging about, making themselves comfortable on my furniture.

Looks comfy. Doesn’t he?

I do the same with my emotions.  I get comfortable with my little faults.  I tell myself that a little selfishness is okay.  An outburst of anger towards my husband may be wrong, but’s it the way I am (right?).  My seemingly impossible-to-eradicate depression can’t be stopped or changed.  Somehow my personality quirks are comforting, even if they are wrong.  The chambers of my heart and mind can be pretty crowded too.

He’s a little hard to ignore.

When it comes to our little faults, we decide that there is nothing we can do about these things, so we get comfortable with them.  We invite them over for tea.  We snuggle up on the couch with our little faults and watch a good movie.  We share our favorite snacks.

But, being comfortable with the little faulty things in our lives just leads to us becoming like a fat cat…lazy. We never work at changing our thoughts and behaviors.  We let the dust collect on the rather large animals taking up space without ever questioning why they are there in the first place.

The opposite of this  is (you know I just had to say it) deciding that things are going to be different.  Making a choice for change.  Believing that living a half-life is not worth the comfort that familiarity brings.  We  have to kick that gorilla and elephant out and lock the doors of our minds and hearts.  We have to decide we want to live a different life.  We have to decide that life is worth living to it’s fullest.

So,  make that first step.  Take inventory of yourself.  Be honest.  Embrace change.

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So tell  me, have you ever seen an 800 lb. gorilla?

The “pick-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps-or-I’ll-kick-your-butt” post

I saw this on Facebook today:

What Mr. Shaw has to say almost seems like a contradiction.  I mean, how can making mistakes be honorable and useful in life?

Some people just cannot stand failure.  For those folks their life equation goes something like this:

Trying + Failure = I’m a loser at life.

Because in their mind, failing is wrong.  No doubt, life, or their parents, taught them this.  These are the same people that say “Win at any cost” or “Failure is not an option.”  Those people are devastated by failure.  Those people sink into depression and despair and bitterness.  Those people are actually failing in life.

We don’t want to be THOSE people.

I could quote you how times geniuses of the last 100 or so years failed at something, but you already know about them (How many times DID Edison fail at making a useful lightbulb?).  But, let’s talk about failure and what it REALLY is, and what it really is not.  Let’s get out our dictionary, shall we?

fail |fāl|verb [ intrans. ]1 be unsuccessful in achieving one’s goal : he failed in his attempt to secure election | [with infinitive ] they failed to be ranked in the top ten.

  • [ trans. ] be unsuccessful in (an examination, test, or interview) : she failed her finals.
  • [ trans. ] (of a person or a commodity) be unable to meet the standards set by (a test of quality or eligibility) : the player has failed a drug test.
  • [ trans. ] judge (someone, esp. in an examination) not to have passed.

2 neglect to do something : [with infinitive ] the firm failed to give adequate risk warnings.

  •  [with infinitive ] behave in a way contrary to hopes or expectations by not doing something : commuter chaos has again failed to materialize.
  •  ( cannot fail to be/do something) used to express a strong belief that something must be the case: you cannot fail to be deeply impressed.
  •  ( never fail to do something) used to indicate that something invariably happens: such comments never failed to annoy him.
  •  [ trans. ] desert or let down (someone): at the last moment her nerve failed her.

3 break down; cease to work well : a truck whose brakes had failed.

  • become weaker or of poorer quality; die away: the light began to fail | [as adj. ] ( failinghis failing health.
  • (esp. of a rain or a crop or supply) be lacking or insufficient when needed or expected.
  • (of a business or a person) be obliged to cease trading because of lack of funds; become bankrupt.

noun

  • a grade that is not high enough to pass an examination or test.

PHRASES: without fail absolutely predictably; with no exception : he writes every week without fail.

ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French faillir (verb), faille (noun), based on Latin fallere ‘deceive.’ An earlier sense of the noun was [failure to do or perform a duty,] surviving in the phrase without fail.

Interestingly, the antonyms to fail are “pass (as in pass an exam), thrive, work, improving, support.”

Okay, enough of that.

What failure IS:

  • Not reaching your goals
  • Falling down and scraping your hands and knees on life’s asphalt
  • Things not going as planned
  • An option
  • Losing a battle (not the war)
  • A learning opportunity

What failure is NOT:

  • The End of World (as you know it)
  • The losing of the war
  • The last chapter in the book
  • The period at the end of the sentence
  • The Grand Finale
  • A reason to quit trying

The two premises I want to focus on are “failure is a learning opportunity” and “failure is not a reason to quit trying.”  With very few exceptions, I firmly believe every problem has a solution and a way out.  Sometimes it takes more work to get there than other times.  Which is where “failure is a learning opportunity” comes in.  Seeing failure as a learning opportunity requires a certain outlook on problem-solving and critical-thinking.  It requires  you to believe that failing at something is OK.  As in, it’s OK.  As in, don’t be such as crybaby, or a wuss.  Because when you try something and fall down and scrap  your knees, you can pause and take a moment and and ask yourself, “What did I learn from this experience?” and, “What can I do differently next time it try?”  Then, you CAN try again.  And again. And again. And again.  Until you find the solution to your problem.

If you quit the first time you fail, what will have gained?  In my book (and apparently George’s book too) you have failed.  With a big, fat capital “F”.  If you’re happy being stuck there, then by all means, stay there.  But, if you’re like me, living a half-life kidding ourselves that we are REALLY living, when in fact we are not, is not an acceptable lifestyle choice. If deep in your heart of hearts you know that you need to keep going, then pick yourself up by your bootstraps.  Or, I’ll kick your butt.

Just ’cause your bigger than me doesn’t mean I can’t kick your butt.

Deal?

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So tell me, when have you failed at something?

The Paradox of Personality

Yesterday, I found inspiration in home group during our discussion on peace and God’s rest.  Someone was talking about how much they disliked certain characteristics about themselves and how that interferes with feeling any sort of peace.  That’s when a certain little belief I have popped into my brain.  I like to call it the “Paradox of Personality”.  You are what you are, but you are also what you want to be.

Paradoxes. They make my brain hurt…

I think that most people agree that each one of us is born with a certain basic set of personality traits that we inherited from our parents.  The mix that we get is unique to us and creates our own way of relating to our world.  Then life happens.  Learning and experiences happen.  We learn to respond through our personality traits to the world.  And this is where my little paradox comes in.

I believe that personality traits have a good side and a bad side.  Sort of like The Force.  We can use them for good, or we can use them for evil.

Let me explain:

Let’s say you’re a person that does not give up easily.  Let’s say you’re dogged and determined.  We’ll call that quality “tenacious.”  According to the New American Oxford Dictionary tenacious means:

  • not readily letting go of, giving up, or separated from an object that one holds, a position, or a principle : a tenacious grip | he was the most tenacious politician in South Korea.
  • not easily dispelled or discouraged; persisting in existence or in a course of action : a tenacious local legend |you’re tenacious and you get at the truth.


This is a good thing, because that means that you don’t generally give up easily.  You stay with the problem longer (clearly you are genius of Einstein’s caliber.  Don’t believe me?  See the quote on the left from dear Albert).

Now, let’s take a look at some of the synonyms for “tenacious”:

  • persevering, persistent, determined, dogged, strong-willed, tireless, indefatigable,resolute, patient, unflagging, staunch, steadfast, untiring, unwavering, unswerving, unshakable,unyielding, insistent; stubborn, intransigent, obstinate, obdurate, stiff-necked; rock-ribbed; pertinacious.

Now, let’s divide these synonyms into groups.

Good side:

  • persevering
  • persistent
  • determined
  • dogged
  • strong-willed
  • tireless
  • indefatigable
  • resolute
  • patient
  • unflagging
  • staunch
  • steadfast
  • untiring
  • unwavering
  • unswerving
  • unshakable

Bad side:

  • unyielding
  • insistent
  • stubborn
  • intransigent
  • obstinate
  • obdurate
  • stiff-necked
  • rock-ribbed
  • pertinacious

Do you see the difference?  Tenacious can either mean you are persevering, or pertinacious.  Persevering stays with a problem longer, pertinacious is simply, and foolishly, sticking to their guns regardless of reason or wisdom.  A persevering person knows when to quit, a stubborn person does not.  People who persevere keeps relationships intact, stubborn people do not.  You get my drift?

See?  Good side, bad side.  You are what you are, but are you are also what you want to be.

So, you can either be this guy:

Nanny-nanny boo-boo!

Or this guy:

The I-just-stay-with-the-problem-longer guy.

Because,  you have a choice.  You can choose to use your personality for good, or you can choose too use your personality for evil.  You are not a slave to your own personality.  It’s up to you.  Which do you choose?

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So tell me, do you have a personality trait you would like to flip over and use for good?

The Squishy Middle, also titled “Using your critical thinking skills to solve, or overcome, your problems”

My brain has pretty crowded the past couple of days.  Me, myself, and I are a pretty close threesome.  Me is lying the couch, while I am (using my best Freudian pose) talking to myself.

At this point, you may be staring blankly at your computer screen right now wondering if I am some kind of babbling idiot.  And I would in my best in-your-face know-it-all voice, “Yeah, so?”

Anyhow, it’s hard to write a coherent sentence in the midst of all that self-talk.  It ain’t pretty but somebody has to do it.  It’s my process.

Whether you know it or not, you also have a process when faced with problems.  Some of you might run and hide and stand in denial.  Some of you might blame, finger-point, and shout a lot.  Others, might take time to think through a problem and come up with a solution (if that’s you, you can stop here) (if that’s not you, read on).

This blog is about overcoming your problems.  This means you have to find a way to overcome.  I am here to help.  So, now to help you find the answers you seek, I am going to make up a phrase.  I will call it the “squishy middle” (a.k.a. employing critical thinking skills).  Why do I say the  middle is squishy?  Because using your critical thinking skills rarely looks like this:

Problem-solving made easy.

If it were this easy, you wouldn’t need me, or your favorite counselor, fish, dog, friend, or coffee-slinger.

The reason that problem-solving is squishy-in-the-middle is because the process  that comes between point A and point B is rarely easy.  Rather, the process in the middle of point A and point B  usually looks something like this:

Dangerous curve ahead.

Or this:

This is me on problem-solving.  Any questions?

Or this:

How many different ways can you go from A to B?

Or this:

Who says problem solving can’t be fun?

See?  All of these methods are messy, and, you know, squishy.  So, now, if you are still with me you might feel like this is just too much.  Well, I’m here to tell you that problem-solving, no matter how squishy-in-the-middle the  process is for  you, can be accomplished with a few easy-to-remember concepts that anyone can use regardless of style:

  1. Admit that there is a problem to overcome. (a.k.a. Point A)(This is a toughie)
  2. Decide on your goal (another toughie)
  3. Be honest with yourself about your part in this problem (yet, another tough one)
  4. Be honest about anyone else’s part on this problem (Be nice about it)(Ok, so they’re all tough)
  5. Decide on a plan of action
  6. Implement the plan (a.k.a. Point B)(this is the toughest part)

The process in between A and B is what counts.  That squishy middle is very, very important.  How  you get there doesn’t matter much, as long as you get there.  Problem-solving techniques are part of what makes each person unique.  What matters most is that you are able to overcome your problem. Period.  Nothing more, nothing less.  The squishy middle is what build character as you practice critical thinking skills.

I wanted to mention something that may occur during this process.  You may fail.  It happens.  If that happens you can either a) Take your ball and go home, sulk on the couch, eat some dirt, then go to bed, or b) try again.  And, don’t stick your fingers in your ears while singing the theme song of “Spongebob Squarepants”  as loudly and annoyingly as possible, and then keep doing the same thing over and over again (i.e. the “definition” of insanity).  That just leads to a poverty of spirit which will lead to being an emotional couch potato.

So, stick with it friend.  Try something different if the first thing didn’t work.  It’s really important that you do so.  I mean, really important.  Not so sure?  You’ll just have to trust me on that.

And the next time this problem comes around (and by God, it will), you will have the last problem-solving session to refer back to to help you overcome your problem even more quickly than before.  Because overcoming your problems is the whole point of this exercise.  Right?

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++So tell me, what’s your squishy middle look like?