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The Answer Depends on How You Ask the Question
by Stewart Blackburn

The great scientist and philosopher Archimedes is quoted as saying, "Give me a lever and a place to stand and I will move the earth." While this was a comment intended to highlight the remarkable properties of the lever, it is also a reminder that where we are standing in relation to a problem is key to the type of solution we get.

Looking for good answers to our problems is something we do every day. It's quite natural to inwardly ask for guidance or simply some response to the inner question, "Now how am I going to get out of this mess?" And whether we are paying attention or not, ideas come to us that potentially resolve our issue.

Perhaps we have a flat tire on our way to work and the spare tire is missing or flat as well. We can focus on how this situation is going to influence our day or even, perhaps, many days to come. We can look at the ramifications of being late to work, the loss of income added to the cost of getting help and the repair, potential jeopardy to our job, and other long-term effects of not fulfilling commitments we have made that were based on not being late to work.

Or we might look at the situation as a bit of a nuisance to have to change our plans, but welcome the change of pace and the respite from our daily routine. We might even take the time to reflect on whether or not the stress of the current job is worth the rewards. Or we could consider a different mode of transportation to work which didn't have downsides like this.

The first set of thoughts about our situation, all the things that could go wrong as a result of this flat tire, comes from letting our fears dictate the choices of solution. We let our imagination take us down roads that reflect the worry and concern we are feeling. The second set of thoughts, though, is more focused on what might be the benefits of this situation. It is one that comes from a place of joy and pleasure, seeing how we can increase our pleasure with this state of affairs.

Whenever we are considering our options we first have the choice of how we will look at the circumstances. We always have the choice about how we will react to anything that happens to us. Sometimes we forget in the heat of disappointment, for instance, that disappointment, like all other reactions, is a choice. We can always choose another way of reacting.

So, the place from which we are starting our search for solutions to any given problem highly influences the kinds of solutions we come up with. When we focus on our fears, the solutions that our subconscious or our Higher Mind present to us are always about how to relieve those fears. However, when we focus on our own joy and pleasure, then the solutions presented will be about how we can increase our joy and pleasure.

I have a friend who has been driving himself crazy trying to do the "right" thing. He has a strong mind that he lets imagine all kinds of disastrous results from making the "wrong" choice. He mostly lives in a place of fear that seems impossible to get out of and consequently he is miserable.

It isn't that he is avoiding his situation or not using his talented brain. It is the place from which he starts that is the problem. He allows himself to be in a place of fear to begin the process of finding a solution. All the solutions he comes up with involve some degree of fear relief, but nothing beyond that. And to make matters more difficult for him, the anxiety he feels about making the wrong decision is worse than any feelings he might have by making a choice he later felt could have been better.

Whereas, if he started from a place of joy or pleasure, he would be finding solutions that made him feel good. We tend to find what we're looking for. If we expect to find good things then we will most likely find them. This is the Confirmation Bias that dogs scientific experimentation. The results of experiments usually confirm what the scientist expects to find. But we can use this to our advantage. If we expect to bring more joy and pleasure into our lives by the choices we make, then that is most likely what we will experience.

If, on the other hand, we only expect to reduce our fears, then that is what we're likely to experience. I'm not even going into the self-fulfilling prophecies of pessimism. Starting from a place of fear keeps us corralled by the limited possibilities that occur to us in this state of consciousness.

So, just as recognizing that we can choose any reaction to our experience that we want to gives us the power to stay in a high vibration, so does being mindful of the state we are beginning from gives us the power to select from potential solutions that will greatly increase our vibration. The choice is ours; do we look at our challenges from fear or from joy and pleasure?

"You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you." - Brian Tracy

Copyright 2017 Stewart Blackburn

Stewart Blackburn is the author of The Skills of Pleasure: Crafting the Life You Want. His website is:; email:

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