Sometimes things don’t work out, especially when we don’t do them for the right reasons. Like jumping into a relationship to bury the demise of the last or travelling to leave your problems at the border (if your mind is coming your problems are too FYI). At Taupo-Nui-a-Tia college Mr Drake took a class focused on enhancing the way we think. He taught a series of early teenagers to identify the underlying problem, and to tackle it. I think about that lesson most days.
It crosses my mind when people overreact. If you care enough that your waitress gave you the wrong coffee to make a scene, you have a bigger problem than the flat white on the table. I recently overreacted to a trivial stumbling block before acknowledging that my most common underlying problem, fatigue, was the real predator. If I really think about it, tired is not a bad problem to have as it’s so easy to rectify – some people have an unhappy marriage…
I think we try to diagnose the surface issue all the time because it’s transparent or just easier to blame. But we can’t solve it because it’s not the issue – it’s like a patch-job. You can get the coffee order amended but you might go on to have an outburst at the next person to cross your path – the guy that cuts the cue or takes your parking space. If you’re in a good mood or a good head-space these things could not matter less – you’re happy so who cares where you park.
It’s harder to look inward so we can’t be blamed for splashing our problems onto others sometimes. It’s much easier to be diagnosed by someone else too – in my experience we don’t usually have a lot of awareness around the actual cause of emotional infection. If you’re not feeling great, look into finding out why, rather than plastering the wound with an impulsive buy, alcohol or regrettable decision. Working out the underlying problem is half-way to solving it.