“We are enslaved by anything we do not consciously see. We are freed by conscious perception.” – Vernon Howard
Many of us are the shoulder to lean on, the sympathetic ear and most importantly the voice of reason when it comes to giving solid advice.
We’re experts when it comes to solving other people’s problems but when it comes to our own, we falter.
A friend comes to us with news that their significant other has been cheating on them and we know exactly what to say to them to help them get through it.
Or, when a friend is starting a business, we suddenly become marketing gurus. We become specialists at inventory, pay roll and how to operate a business overall.
But again, when it comes to our own lives, we are suddenly met with confusion. Thinking about solving our own problems is difficult to do to say the least.
The more we try to solve our own problems the deeper we dig ourselves in.
Why is it that when our loved ones, co-workers or a random stranger on the internet needs advice, we become the wisest of the wise sages but when it comes to our own lives we are at a loss for solutions?
In this video I’m going to talk about the power of using “Solomon’s Paradox” to solve our problems.
Let’s dive in.
What the studies say
King Solomon was ruler of the United Kingdom Of Israel during 970 – 931 BCE
Various faiths consider Solomon as one of the most sagacious Prophets and Kings that has walked this planet.
But it was said that while Solomon was wise when it came to dealing with affairs outside of himself, he had trouble with affairs of his own.
In 2014 researchers Igor Grossman, and Ethan Kross wrote an article that stated people tend to reason more effectively and sagaciously when it comes to other people’s problems than their own.
They state that this is a common occurrence and they coined it “Solomon’s paradox.”
In order to start confirming their hypothesis, they gave participants in a long term romantic relationship an assignment.
They had the participants in one group imagine that they had been cheated on and another group imagine that their best friends romantic partner cheated on their friend.
Afterwards, they took an assessment used to measure aspects of wise reasoning,
such as recognizing limits of what they know, empathy and seeking compromise.
In support of Solomon’s paradox, they found that the group that imagined their friend being cheated on scored higher in the assessment measuring aspects of wise reasoning than the group that imagined themselves being cheated on.
The first study confirmed their hypothesis
but they wanted to test the outcome further, which hinted that people that are distanced from the problem tend to reason better about the problem therefore providing a solution.
They conducted a second study with a new set of participants with the same cheating dilemma.
This time they had the participants either take a first person or third person perspective when reflecting on their own or the friends problem.
What they found was that the participants reflecting from a third person view scored higher on the wise reasoning assessment than those that took a first person perspective, showing that those who distanced themselves from the problem psychologically reasoned better over it.
We learned from the studies that in order to solve our problems effectively, we have to distance ourselves psychologically from them.
When we are trying to figure out how to solve our problems from a first person perspective, we become fish in water.
Our mind is like an army, fanning out to attack the enemy.
You can also think of the mind as sonar, pinging it’s environment periodically.
The mind is typically used to traverse outward and permeate our field of perception, which, coincidentally, aligns with the fact that our eyes are facing front, scanning in a 180 degree view.
Solomon’s Paradox at work
But how do we distance ourselves psychologically from our problems?
We should do like famous stoic, Marcus Aurelius did and journal everyday.
Marcus Aurelius is one of the most renowned when it comes to stoic philosophy.
As an emperor, one of the most powerful men during his time, he kept a journal called “meditations.”
Now, many people don’t know this but meditations wasn’t necessarily meant to be published.
This journal was for the express purpose of conscious self-reflection through which Marcus gave himself daily advice on how to handle matters of human interaction.
He didn’t refer to himself in third person but spoke to himself as if he were speaking to a good friend.
I’ll close with a little story.
One day a man wanted to give his friend, an architect, a gift.
He didn’t know what to get his friend as he had everything he wanted.
He came up with the idea to design and build him a house.
So he asked this same architect friend to build a house for him.
His architect friend immediately started on this important project. He chose all of the best materials, best factors, best engineers…nothing but the best.
When the house was completed, he thanked his architect friend and said “This house is for you.”
Be like the architect who’s building a house for himself with nothing but the best.
When it comes to solving your problems, pretend as if you were a friend giving a friend fruitful advice.
Remember to throw in compassion, insight and of course, love.
Thanks for watching, peace.
King Solomon: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:King_Solomon.jpg