Pivotal View

Recently I listened to a short podcast by Daniel Pink, author of ‘Drive” and other behavioral science tomes, during which he spoke about solving your own problems. Referencing the book “Decisive” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, he said shifting the challenge to another person leads to better results. So instead of pondering, ‘What should I do?’, try: ‘What would I tell my best friend to do?’

“It turns out,” he said, “most people when they reframe the problem that way they know exactly what they’d tell their best friend to do.” Think about when someone asks you for help. Are you typically ready to give advice? When providing guidance to others we take a broader ‘telescopic’ view than when caught up in ‘microscopic’ emotions of our own situation.

Scientists refer to this as ‘Self-Distancing’ – and in a follow-up podcast, Pink said: “We are better at solving our own problems when we have a little bit of remove from them. When we see them at a distance, when we treat our own problems in much the same way we would treat someone else’s problems rather than get so absorbed by it.”

He also suggested speaking in the second or third person to yourself. So, the next time you face a big issue, rather than say, ‘I will do X,’ step aside and try: ‘You will do X’ or, better yet, ‘[Your Name] will do X.’

Give it a try. David believes this approach will work.


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