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If, like me, you have been struggling with a problem that defies your best efforts and remains steadfastly problematic, consider this: Your attempted solution might be part of the problem!

One of the side effects of our attempts to fix things is that we often make them worse. This is is not because we bungle it, but because the things we try often have unintended consequences. Take for example what so often happens in conflict. Both parties in the dispute want to get their point across in the face of the other’s obstinacy. Since neither side is ‘hearing’ the other, both step up their efforts to be heard – becoming more insistent, dogmatic and LOUDER –  with the result that the conflict escalates.

The down-side of frustrated attempts to solve the problem of feeling unheard is that we appear aggressive… this not only perpetuates the problem we are trying solve, it can actually create new one, like war, for example.

I found a solution to my problem by reminding myself to break the pattern of attempt-failure-reattempt; by doing something different. Thus, a minor problem did not mature into something more serious due to my efforts to solve it.

And another thing!

Interesting consequence of writing this post is that I came across the Cobra Effect.

(I got the 68% of marital arguments bit from John Gottman)


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