What is the Meaning of Your Problem?

May 8, 2009 at 2:27 pm | Posted in communication, inspiration/humour, self development/motivation | Leave a comment

Your friend just told you that she does not like your new shoes or your boss refused to publish your article? So what is the real problem?

The meanings we give to situations are the significant variables that make up the quality of our experiences.

The situation that is presenting, in the example above the fact that your friend did not like the shoes, is never the problem itself. We create problems by the meanings we attach to the situation.

Imagine a coat on a rack. The coat is just a coat. Once you see the tag saying ‘100% cashmere’ and assuming you like cashmere the coat now just became more valuable and potentially desirable. Let’s imagine you then see the price tag and it says ‘$990’. Depending on your relationship with money and value that could mean: “Wow, expensive!” or “Wow, what a good price!” If we go one more step and imagine that there is a sign on the rack saying ‘SALE – original price $2490’ – what would now happen to the meaning and value you put onto the coat?

Did I mention that the scene happened in a Chanel boutique? What just changed then in your meaning?

This example is showing that the coat is still just a coat. Given all these different frames of references they change the meaning and therefore the value of the object in relation to our own sense of value of the specific frame.

Going back to the example of the shoes, ask yourself:

  • How important are those shoes for you?
  • What meaning do you place on those shoes?
  • How much value and importance do you assign to your friend’s opinion?

Play out the same scenario in your head with different kinds of relation (friend, partner, mother, potential new lover), in a different situation (at a party, at dinner with close friends) and with different shoes. Watch how your feelings and thoughts change!

The reason you have got a problem is because you have given it compelling enough reason and meaning to be a problem.


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