I’m not humblebragging when I say everyone offline who knows me well knows me as a good problem-solver.
And I’ve had a huge problem with that.
And I mean YUUUGE.
It’s not about people asking me for help and advice all the time.
I’m delighted to help people who want to help themselves. And most people find me too intimidating to ask for help anyway. That’s somewhat engineered, but mostly just their mistake – and lack of Vision.
Which brings us back to the deep problem with problem-solving.
When you get a high-value credential like an engineering or business degree, experience in consulting or investment banking, a career as a corporate executive, you are always encouraged to tout your problem-solving skills.
Problem-solving is a big deal in business school. It’s a routine and essential part of BS job interviews for six-figure positions.
That’s not a surprise, but it’s also the ultimate blind spot that consigns people and companies to mediocrity and decline.
Face it – in the fractured culture, so many people are helpless. The lo-awarenes mass can’t handle even the most basic everyday challenges without kicking into emotional overdrive.
They react AF.
Which is why BS recruiters paying the big $$$ want to weed out the basket cases upfront and select people who can keep it together under pressure.
But problem-solvers usually don’t realize that they are being reactive, too.
Just look at the most clichéd worn-out dragged-through-the-dirt-and-washed-with-the-underwear problem-solving mantra since the beginning of the universe.
To solve the problem, you first need to recognize that you have a problem.
This is plumbing the lows of lo-awarenes.
Some people never recognize that there’s a problem in the first place. They don’t see the gap between where they are and where they want to be.
Some people are that blind.
To close the gap, you need to recognize the gap first. Then figure out what needs to change to close it or narrow it.
Here’s the problem with that.
First, you’re narrowing your set of solutions. You let the problem (circumstances) define the options you can pick from.
Second, your motivation, your driver is to shrink this one gap, not to accelerate on your growth trajectory. And if the gap is about growth, it’s in ways even stupider to frame it like that. Why shift to a scarcity mindset if you’ve started from growth?
Third, and this is the most important, most brutal fact few people understand – you may be solving the wrong “problem”.
Maybe the problem has become a problem because what you’re doing has simply lost relevance. Your problem-solving ends up trying to resolve a past condition, which is both difficult and a poor choice in the first place.
Problem-solvers are usually people without Vision, bogged down in the weeds of tactics and survival, blind to the forest for the trees. Because of this backward-looking approach, you may end up saving the tree, while the rest of the forest burns down.
I recently emailed you about the power of the Nuclear Option in resetting your life and getting on the right track – at warp speed.
One subscriber emailed back that the Nuclear Option missive was “insane”.
But the problem with my using the nuclear option was that I didn’t go insane enough.
Most of the time, when I slammed the big red launch button – and I’ve slammed it more than once or twice, – I didn’t do it right. I took damage from not letting go of the problem-solving mindset that I’m so comfortable with.
I didn’t go BIG enough.
I didn’t make all the changes I could have made easily in the nuclear winter.
Because of the facking problem-solving mindset. I was so fixated on one “problem” or gap in my life that I missed so many other things that I could have made big strides on and got 10 times the gainz for about the same effort.
Take a common problem as an example.
Someone hates the 9-to-5 job, feels unrewarded, has too much debt, doesn’t make “enough” money.
The bottom of the bottom of the lo-awarenes mass wouldn’t even bother fixing the problem. They’d just choose to be stuck and worry about keeping their job.
People with a problem-solving mindset will look for steps to climb up the ladder or go lateral to another employer: get an after-hours degree, suck up to the boss or her superiors, look to acquire new skills, maybe even start searching for a new job.
Do you notice the common thread to all these “solutions”?
They’re all driven by something in your conditions, something external to you. Even the skill-acquisition bit is about what a better-paying job would require from you.
You’re surrendering to the cause-effect thimking of the fractured culture and the control narratives of the establishment.
Worse, you’re thinking small, you’re thinking tiny, you’re shortchanging yourself.
You can problem-solve for “I don’t make enough money” and struggle. Or you can ask yourself what you can do to amplify your life, to get on a track which you want to be on.
All people are unhappy, discontent, struggling, unsuccessful for the same reason – they don’t have a Vision of themselves that they go after every day.
Vision isn’t about conditions, it’s something of Yourself and Yourself only. You create it, then manifest it.
So how do you solve for “I don’t make enough money”?
You don’t, because it’s the wrong question to ask.
Who do I want to become, what do I want to do with my life, which are the things I can’t do without?
You go to the fundamentals of your Vision.
When people problem-solve for being unhappy at work or not getting paid enough, they artificially narrow their options by focusing on outcome and circumstance.
You can be unhappy at work for reasons that have nothing to do with the conventional “wisdom” or what everybody else is doing:
- Maybe you get passed over for promotions because you’re fat.
- Maybe you feel tired, irritable and depressed because you eat sugar and refined carbohydrates, not because your boss is a jerk.
- Maybe you hate your job because your domestic situation is facked.
- Maybe you have the right vocation, but you’re doing it with the wrong people and you should move to a different town instead of getting in debt for a college degree.
- Maybe you should forget this entire job business and start your own.
That’s where I fracked up when I decided to leave academia for good. I went on to look for big $$$ jobs instead cutting out the middle man and starting my own business. I loved the job I found; my own business, I loved ’er more.
Can you get it yet?
Next time you have a “problem” – especially one that’s persistent or recurrent – take a big step back. Then another one. Think, honestly think several orders of magnitude BIGGER.
- Maybe if you get sick all the time, you need to move to another town because the food supply or air quality in yours is flecked. – You don’t need another doctor, better medicines, more exercise. You need to fack off somewhere else.
- Maybe if you want to switch jobs, you should also switch careers, get a new home, move to a new town.
- Maybe if you don’t make enough money, you shouldn’t just start your own business but also stop buying junk like a profligate.
This is why I often annoy people by saying there’s no such thing as problems, only poor imagination. And they get annoyed because they misinterpret. They think I’m saying they’re too stupid to find a solution (and they often are). But that’s not it. I’m saying all they need to do is see beyond the so-called problem.
Vision makes problems irrelevant.
Beat that in deep under your thick skull and never forget it.
Make every decision a BIG decision, especially when you have a big decision to begin with. Instead of problem-solving, raise the fracking stakes. Make yourself uncomfortable.
I often do that by fasting, not just because it’s anti-comfort but because it turns the mind into a sharp razor. Fasting is a great way to get some manic-level clarity fast (pun 105% intended).
Do a 3-day water-only fast. Or 10 days, so you shift into ketosis and your brain goes on fire. You’ll have so many ideas about how to make your world BIGGER, you won’t be able to believe how you could have been so silly before.
Fasting is so important, so powerful, so life-changing that I’m working on a one-of-a-kind book about it –everything you need to know to build your own fasting routine and level up every aspect of your life.
When the Patreon community reaches 108, eligible patrons will receive a unique pre-release PDF of the book. To qualify for the giveaway, you must have pledged at least $5 in the month the goal comes due, and been a patron for at least 3 months. You can make a pledge at this link: https://www.patreon.com/join/startupdaemon.
I reserve the right to close the promotion early and make the distribution to qualifying patrons at any time. The print edition of the Integral book on fasting will retail at $65 – no electronic nonsense will be sold!
You can check out all the patron benefits and become a supporter here: https://www.patreon.com/startupdaemon.
Now go forth and conquer!