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January 15th, 2021
It can be exciting to take those first few swings at a problem, full of hope that an answer might be near by, and if only delivered, rearranged, clicked into place, the problem evaporates and instantaneously we live in a better universe. Of course, not all solutions yield to those first few attempts, and some may elude us for quite some time - time that grows disheartening as we struggle to endure.
It’s as though there is a timer, like a time bomb on our ability to persevere. Slowly we lose steam about our prospects and our optimism that we might bring about that marginally better universe. As we search for a solution, more problems seem to pop up, and it becomes necessary to solve totally unexpected problems just to further the course toward a solution that might not even work out. Like a prospector digging holes here and there hoping to hit gold, or a kind searching for a playmate talented in the ways of hide and seek, our psychology can be quick to let the most useful of emotions deflate, giving room and rise to those that are ultimately, self defeating.
We wear ourselves down with the experience of not knowing. The solution, wherever it may be has no feeling nor any real connection to us, especially our subjective experience of the hunt. Like the set of keys we’ve searched the house twice over for, it just sits there, waiting with infinite patience. And that’s the difference, problems are infinitely patient, but we are not. Many of the most wonderful solutions that have aided humanity came about after a very long time and after a great number of people took swipes at the issue with hope of finding a solution.
The good news is that problems, well solved, only need to be solved once, and those solutions, once found, can be forever uncovered. This is also the process of learning, which is primarily an experience of confusion and frustration. Our ability to understand is a function of our strategy surrounding confusion. If our strategy enables us to enjoy confusion, then we call that experience curiosity. But in many cases the frustration wears down the mind and the heart, until, we give up. The solution to this problem of endurance and wear is to merely become aware of it. Once the pattern is laid bare, it’s far easier to just keep pushing toward the goal. As with anything it takes practice, but with a few difficult grinds to prove the solution, we can being to turn a curious eye to the issue and wonder how long the unknown will manage to elude our effort.