A problem is when one intends two mutually exclusive outcomes at the same time. One wants A but one doesn't want A.

Nothing is inherently a problem in the physical universe. Problems are a product of the mind. It is only when we add thoughts and opinions and feelings to a situation that it can become a problem. If we just experience and accept the situation the way it is, there is no problem. A problem is a failure to see what is actually there. Instead of dealing what is there, one replaces it with two self-contradictory ideas. And then one experiences the unpleasantness of that impossible situation.

Everybody is free to choose what their life will be. Lack of choice is generally a phenomenon of the mind, not an objectively observable phenomenon.

Mostly choice is limited by preconceived ideas about things HAVING to be a certain way. You MUST behave in a certain way, you MUST uphold right ideas, you MUST respond correctly to events, things MUST be in a certain order, etc.

If I drive down the street with the fixed idea that one MUST always drive in the right side, and another fellow comes the opposite way with the fixed idea that he MUST drive in the left side, then we will get a problem. The road might be deserted and have a lot of extra space, but if each of us have only one correct way we must behave, and we insist that others follow it too, then we are in trouble. In the physical universe there is no problem, any of us could probably drive around each other and get on with our business. Only by having fixed ideas in our minds can we make a problem.

People often don't realize that they themselves control both sides of any problem. The apparency is often that the problem is being controlled by some external agency. One has to agree to the sides of the problem to make it a problem.

Let's say I have promised Joe to go to the movies with him tonight. But then my sister comes by and needs somebody to talk to, and I've promised earlier to always be there for her. But I also have the rule that I never break my appointments. So, I have a problem.

One can keep ideas fixed because they don't necessarily relate to the real world. One can make an idea separate from its context and pretend that it is an absolute truth. I could decide "I will always talk with my sister when she needs me to". That might sound very nice and noble of me. But it is just an abstract idea as long as I don't decide which context I am talking about. An absolute statement is almost always wrong. Of course there will be situations where something else will be more important than talking with my sister. If I have decided "I will always keep my appointments" then there will for sure be situations where I will have to break appointments because of what comes up.

You don't have to make more than a couple of fixed absolute ideas before they start colliding with each other and with the real world. Anything with an "always", "never", "must", or "can't" in it will invariably collide with any evidence to the contrary. Likewise, but to a lesser extent, with any categorical belief that something IS a certain way, or any belief that some things are inherently "good" or "bad".

When two ideas collide, the person gets an internal conflict, a dilemma. They are both supposed to be true, but at the same time they can't be. Instead of looking at the real world and adjusting the ideas to be more practical, a person might just keep the colliding ideas in suspension. Instead of solving the dilemma it is kept frozen. An unsolved dilemma becomes a problem. The person will often think that there is nothing she can do about it, she is not cause. The opposing ideas will accumulate stuck energy and confusion around themselves, and will demand a lot of attention.

Essentially, what the person is doing is that she is trying to stop external forces with ideas in her mind. That is not a very good idea, and it doesn't work very well.

In the physical universe two things or events can't occupy the exact same location in space-time. The mind doesn't have such a limitation, so a person might make several ideas cover the same area. She might not notice it before the external situations, that the ideas are supposed to represent, suddenly appear to be in conflict. And often the person will wrongly assume that the conflict is happening in the outside world, and not in her mind.

Let's say a slick salesman gets me to buy a new leather sofa group for my living room that will be delivered the next day. I walk home to surprise my wife and I say "Honey, how would you like to have new leather couches?", and she says "No way, I am going to paint the whole place purple, and we will be getting my brother's antique straw furniture. The painters are coming tomorrow." Let's say that I just say "Oh" and sit down to think things over. I have a problem. I might sit and sweat over it and start feeling worse and worse about it. If I keep ignoring it, both the couches and the painters will arrive the next day. The more I think about the problem the more I would probably feel heavy and get a headache.

Now, the error is in assuming something without actually perceiving it, and in not communicating what needs to be communicated. Instead of checking with my wife before I bought a major item for the home, I just thought "She'll like it". In other words I replace actual perceptions with an idea. Secondly, when I found that there were other plans contrary to mine, I didn't communicate what I knew. Lastly, I then assume that I can just sit down and sort that out by thinking about it. However, physical forces are already in motion. The delivery people will come with the couches and the painters will come to paint and your brother-in-law will deliver his straw furniture, and somebody is going to get mad..

If you superficially assume a responsibility for several flows of activity that are in conflict, and you do nothing to redirect or align their flow, but you just attempt to stop the flows in your mind, well, then you have a problem.

One of my clients yesterday had had a lousy week and was feeling really bad because of a problem at work. The company was low on money and could not pay for shipments they had to arrange for their customers, so therefore shipments that should take 1 day now took 5 days. However customers were calling in continuously and asking how long their shipments would take. She felt that she had to lie and tell the customers that it would only take 1 day, in order to protect the company. Otherwise the customers wouldn't make any more orders, and would change to another transport company. But that made her feel very bad, because the customers would be misled. So, she either had to betray the customers or the company. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

However, that is only a problem of ideas. It wasn't really her problem at all. It is the company that is low on funds, and there is nothing she can do about it. It is the customer that might or might not like a shipment time of 5 days. But she takes both of those issues on to herself, and try to resolve the conflict within herself. That is not where it belongs. She makes herself a buffer zone for those different flows. She is squeezed between two forces. But only because she assumes herself to be responsible for them, but without having any ability to influence them.

What she CAN do is to pass on the information and not make herself the conflict point. Let each party handle the part that they are cause over, and then she doesn't have to worry about it. Tell the customer that it takes 5 days. It is up to them to decide what to do about that. Let the company management work out how to get financing, that is their problem.

If you let the flows and the information and the activities flow, then there won't be a problem. At least it won't be your problem. Somebody else might make a problem, but you don't have to feel bad about that. If nobody tries to stop or distort the flow of events then there will be no problems.

You always have a choice about what you do. Any choice you make is what you choose. Making a choice is not a problem. Problems come from not making choices, or from taking on choices that one doesn't have.

If you are the right person to make a choice, then make it. If you don't make it, things will start piling up and look problematic. If you are not the right person to make a choice, then don't pretend that you are. Pass the information on to the people who will make the choice. Don't loose sleep over anything you don't have a choice about.

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