Thursday, 21 August 2014

Self-improvement by using a reliable tool

Even when a recipe looks simple, actual cooking may demand a detailed selection of ingredients, quantities, temperature, and timing. From the hundreds of decisions that we make every week, most are automatic. We use routine to make life easy and predictable, so that we can concentrate on important matters. This is the efficient way to live.

The information we need to make choices is frequently unavailable, insufficient, or contradictory. Sometimes, we cannot even figure out what kind of details we are missing to make a picture understandable. New ideas are built on previous knowledge, which to a certain extent, has been randomly acquired.

Luckily, when solutions require complex reasoning, there are ways to shorten the process of analysing alternatives. Using our subconscious is a surprisingly reliable method to come up with correct answers. On many occasions, the conclusions we reach, will involve a new formulation of the initial questions. 

Our subconscious is specially well suited to assess situations where many elements are connected on several levels. How can we make optimal use of this approach to solve problems? These are the four steps you can take to exploit this capacity to your advantage:


Without a clear sense of direction, no one can make consistent choices. Long-term objectives allow man to minimize the impact of daily adversities and counter misfortune with rational action. The time you devote to defining your principal goals can be your best investment.


Few situations are really life-threatening. Exaggerating the seriousness of difficulties does not improve our ability to deal with them. Events should not be given more relevance than they deserve. Let your fundamental goals, not your feelings, determine the importance of present concerns.


When dealing with trouble in unfamiliar areas, we might not even be aware of which aspects we need to consider. Each situation is driven by different elements and no man has universal expertise. Asking questions, visiting the public library, or consulting the internet will allow you, more often than not, to figure out what is crucial in the business at hand.


Take your time before making major decisions. Make a list of the factors that you have discovered in your initial research. Read what you can on related subjects and let your mind organize the information. Make notes and let them lead you to new details.

After a while, you will begin to see the results of the process. The answers you were looking for might come when you are most relaxed, thinking of something completely different. It may also happen that you wake up at night and the solution occurs to you. Write it down and congratulate yourself of the good work.

Your most valuable achievement is that you have acquired a new thinking routine. Over time, this method for surmounting obstacles can render you tremendous service. Use it to minimize annoyance from adversities and let it further your progress towards your chosen goals.

For more information about rational living and personal development, I refer you to my books.


[Image by Brokentaco under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under]