You know how you can sometimes stumble upon something you wrote years ago and can’t help but laugh about the pettiness of your problems and how serious they seemed back then?
As you got older, you gained perspective and discovered there are worse things in life. At the time though it felt like the end of the world to you.
One of my best friends recently proposed the idea to me that life is never-ending series of “problems” or “challenges” we progress through. Each one designed to take us a higher level of consciousness.
He sees all these problems as “8-shaped infinity loops” linked to a certain way of thinking that we just keep running through over again. Until we finally get out of the loop and the problem doesn’t return anymore.
Whatever you might be dealing with right now: When you’re in that loop (and you’re always in one) it seems like you can never get out of it until you solved the problem.
The interesting catch is that a problem can never be solved at the same level of thinking that it was created (*cough* banking crisis *cough* *couch*).
The only way to solve it is by taking the leap to a different loop with a different way of thinking. From that perspective the solution to your previous problem will seem obvious. Allowing you to fix it and move on to dealing with the problem of that new loop.
Here’s an example you’ve witnessed many times before:
There’s a fly in your room. It’s buzzing like hell and it’s annoying the [insert favorite cuss word] out of you so you open your window and hope it will fly out.
But you shouldn’t have hoped for anything. Instead of leaving, it just keeps flying against the window. Bumping its head over and over again on the same spot. Until after 20 or 30 tries something suddenly clicks in him and it flies straight out the window, never to be seen again. You just witnessed it jumping from one “loop of thinking” to the other.
When you look at that fly wasting his energy bumping his head yet another time, you wonder aloud how an animal can be so stupid to not see that open window when it’s right in front of its 6000 eyes.
Then again, your worrying about money, fashion or the loss of your favorite football team would seem just as stupid from the fly’s perspective. You are both in a different loop. Where you have the obvious solution to the other one’s problems but not to your own.
So how do you take that leap from one level to another?
Usually that sort of thing doesn’t happen on command. It comes naturally as you talk about it with different people, get inspired by things you read/watch/listen to or just live life a little and learn.
…but there are ways to cheat ?
A simple trick I often use is to temporarily take on the perspective of someone who’s already in a different loop. You do this by asking yourself all different questions until you’ve found a point of view that allows you to solve it.
• How would I look at the problem if it wasn’t in real life, but just in a video game I was playing?
• What would a child say about this problem?
• How will I look back at this problem 5 years from now when I’ve already solved it?
• What would someone extremely rational say about this problem?
• What would someone of the opposite sex think about this problem?
• What would an old person say about this problem?
• How would someone extremely emotional fix this problem?
• What would a comedian say about this problem?
• How would I view this problem if I was ridiculously happy right now?
• If the world would end unless I fixed this in 1 hour, how would I do it?
• Is there any way I can use the experience I get from this problem to my advantage?
• What if the problem was just a fun challenge? How would I tackle it?
• What advice would I give to a friend who had this problem?
You can easily invent some more for yourself if those weren’t enough. What matters is that with every question you take on a different mindset for a moment and see how the problem looks or feels from that place.
Don’t be like that fly. If you keep bumping your head on the same window, it’s time to level up your thinking for a minute and fix it.
Stop doing what you’ve always done or thinking what you’ve always been thinking and take on a different perspective to get out of that loop right now ?