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December 6, 2012 / Karen R Adams

the dao of captain jack sparrow

The problem is not the problem.  The problem is your attitude about the problem.  Do you understand? ~ Captain Jack Sparrow

I love Jack Sparrow – his posturing and swaggering and his nutty logic.  This picture is currently making the rounds of Facebook, and I find the sentiment divinely profound.

I mean, at it’s base, a problem is a problem because we deem it so.  And then, once we’ve done that, we worry it, chew on it, find all the reasons it’s a problem, enlist our friends to agree that, yes, we have a problem, let it disturb our sleep, and on and on until it plays serious havoc with our lives.

We’ve developed an attitude, er, problem.

Let’s play the re-framing game.

Some of the synonyms for ‘attitude’ are: bias, frame of mind, mindset, philosophy, position.  Hmmm.   Okay, hold that thought.

Some of the synonyms for ‘problem’ are: difficulty, botheration, can of worms, challenge, complication, mess, quandary.  Hmmm again.

I have a bias, an attitude, a position about problems: they’re bad news, they get in the way of my life, they take time and energy and (heaven forbid) money that I’d rather use for other things.  A problem is bad news.

A botheration, on the other hand, why that’s no big deal.   I mean, a botheration doesn’t last very long, can be soothed and smoothed, might even have an amusing aspect to it.  So a problem that’s a botheration?  I can deal with that.

If I re-frame a problem by using a word that doesn’t activate my bias, I’ve simply found myself in the middle of a challenge or a mess that needs to be cleaned up.  I actually have more experience doing that than I do being stymied by a problem, don’t you?

Mindfulness in all things, that’s my goal.  And practice practice practice before I hit a problem that threatens to activate my bias, so I can shift my attitude to one that deflates a problem to a botheration.

Do you understand?

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