You know that feeling very well – “I have a problem! A special set of circumstances that puts you in an uncomfortable position and requires you to make difficult decisions or do hard work.
You just wanted to relax and have a good time, and then life arranges you another pain in the ass… or you have stepped on another rake… or your boss is a jerk… or another driver cuts you off and you now have to fight with the insurance.
Or maybe you have a psychological problem. Are you lonely? Are you unhappy with yourself? Are you afraid of not getting enough to eat? Are you afraid of not coping with life?
Oleg Satov’s article on my blog about Affiliate Programs, CPA networks, traffic arbitrage and affiliate marketing is about what concerns everyone who lives. Any normal person has a whole heap of problems. If that person is mentally weak, he will tell the whole world how hard his life is, and how unfair life is to him. And, of course, he will be completely absorbed in his own drama. Self-pity, apathy, perpetual fatigue.
If the person is strong, no outsider will probably never know about any of his problems. And this person himself will treat his situation stoically: not whining, but fighting for life with firmly clenched teeth. If this person is also wise, he will probably realize that all the problems have befallen him justly and deservedly. There is nothing to feel sorry for – you have to cope, that’s all.
DO I HAVE A PROBLEM? TAKE A GOOD LOOK!
The key point here is that even with a completely ruthless attitude toward oneself, and even with the understanding that no problem just happens, one has that particular feeling – “I have a problem!”
One feels sorry for himself and complains to the world about the whole world. The other doesn’t feel sorry for himself or complain. But both are in the same very specific condition, which is necessary so that a “problem” view of life can emerge.
Another important point is that two different people, being in the same situation and faced with the same circumstances, will give different assessments of what is happening. One will say, “That’s a problem!” the other will say, “I don’t see any problem!”
And it’s not that the other is wise like the Buddha, only that he has a different life context. Let’s say both have noisy neighbors. One can’t get a decent night’s sleep when he has to get up early in the morning and work on an emergency project.
The other one, for example, is hard on the ear, or he makes much worse noise, or the noise behind the wall evokes some warm childhood memories, and he falls asleep sweetly and happily just to them. The situation is the same, but it only becomes a problem when there are special personal circumstances and a special personal attitude to what is happening.
That is, at the very least, the problem is a relative thing, arising in half from the external conditions and the inner context of the person. And experiencing the problem, going through it, can also be different for different people. One person sees a problem, solves it, and becomes stronger.
The other sees a problem, complains, and is made weaker. But don’t jump to the conclusion that option A is better than option B. Let’s take a closer look at the “problems” problem.
WOULD YOU LIKE A SIMPLE EXAMPLE?
Let’s take a simple case. For example, the neighbors flooded you. You have to rush to work, and then water rushes from the ceiling and pours your precious home library/computer equipment/soft furnishings. And you need to save the property, and you need to go to work, and you don’t have any extra savings.
And the neighbor is a drunkard. Money for repairs from him can not shake, and the door will not open – you have to call an emergency service and block the entire riser. In general, the problem!
If you are psychologically unstable, then, depending on your temperament, you will break and throw or quietly cry in a corner in powerlessness in front of his hard and unfair fate.
If life has hardened you up to this point, then, quietly grumbling through your teeth, you will make the necessary decisions and come out of the situation angry or sad, but not hunted and no hysterics. The more self-pity, the more intense and longer the experience.
It would seem to follow a logical conclusion that you have to conquer self-pity, become stronger, and then everything will be fine. And, in general, this is a reasonable conclusion – the more psychologically strong a person is, the easier he perceives and resolves his problems.
And if what is written below seems incomprehensible or unconvincing, it is worth stopping at least at this stage – to stop feeling sorry for yourself. This achievement alone will already make it much easier to exist in a world oriented toward strength and extroversion.
But. As always, there is one big “But.” A man who is weak and a man who is resilient differ greatly in the way they endure their problems, but they differ not at all in the way they create those problems. From a broader perspective, it doesn’t matter at all how a person reacts to a problem, because it’s just a fight against the symptoms.
And the worst has already happened all the same, weak or resistant, but they have both already made the major mistake of creating the “problem. Both are sick with the same disease and differ only in how effectively they deal with its consequences.
WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON?
What is really going on in the situation we are examining? The ceiling is ruined, the books/equipment/furniture is ruined, work had to take time off, the money set aside for vacation will now go toward repairs. Okay. Is this a problem or not? Let’s get the concepts straight. Here we have actual material losses – you can’t argue with that.
Also here we have those losses that are called moral losses in court – we won’t argue that either. But is the loss itself a “problem”? For some people, losing $10 is a tragedy, but for others, losing thousands of dollars is a regular occurrence.
Probably it’s not the actual loss itself, but how this particular person evaluates it, based on his or her personal context. That is, the problem is not created by the situation itself, but by one’s attitude toward it. Is this so?
The problem, then, is a relative phenomenon. There is not a single situation, which seven billion people would regard as a problem. All problems arise only in the eyes and perception of this concrete observer.
If it were any other person, the problem would not arise. And even if there were a super-problem that all of humanity would agree on, what would become of the problem if everyone died?
Would the problem remain on Earth if there were no longer those who had recently seen it with all clarity? Did the problem even exist in reality, or was it just a specific (and rather strange!) point of view of what was going on?
Is the end of the world a problem? For whom? In what context does the end of existence become a problem? Is the end of the world a problem if there is no context?
ANY PROBLEM IS SUBJECTIVE AND RELATIVE
So, any problem is subjective and relative. But relative to what is it relative? Here we have three factors.
First, the general situation of life. One is rich, the other is poor. One rents an apartment and was going to move out long ago, the other has just bought and renovated it. Different circumstances suggest different perspectives on our situation. This is the most obvious factor and at the same time the least accessible to our direct influence.
After all, we are all in OUR situation and it is the only one we have, which is what it is. And problems happen all of a sudden, not waiting for us to be able to adjust our whole lives to them.
Second, a personal frame of reference. This point is more subtle, but also quite simple. One is in awe of books, the other considers them a useless waste of paper. One believes that a planned vacation trip will make him happy, the other believes that everything that has happened is for the best.
One is convinced that money is something very important, the other is convinced that virtue and humility are more important. Depending on one’s habitual perspective and personal beliefs, the same factual situation turns out to be the worst evil or the highest good.
The problem, then, arises only when a person’s existing ideas about life dictate that assessment of what has happened. Losing money is bad + it’s lost = a problem. Going on vacation is good + no money = problem. But the opposite is also true. If the negative assessment of a situation is relative, then the positive assessment of it is also relative.
Both evil and good arise from the same place – from existing personal perceptions of life. Change perceptions, and evil becomes good, and good becomes evil. But there is neither the first nor the second in life – they are only relative conditional and subjective views of what is going on. And unlike other circumstances in life, changing one’s perceptions is not that difficult. In any case, it is easier than going from poor to rich.
Third, personal importance, the importance of self-love. It is that strange thing that we consider our main treasure, and because of which, even though we understand the relativity of our views on life, we are never ready to give them up. In a sense, you could say that it is a situation in which we identify with our ideas about life.
Our ideas, our stance on life, our attitudes, our values, are what make us special – WE! To refuse or change them is to betray ourselves! And this is also where identification with other tangible and intangible objects that have some special personal significance: possessions, justice, honesty, faith in God, and all sorts of other things.
TAKE AWAY THE IMPORTANCE OF “YOURSELF”
This very entanglement of oneself with one’s perceptions and a general fixation on asserting one’s own significance (the more significant I am, the more alive I am!) leads to the fact that every factual situation is viewed primarily through the prism of one’s own significance.
A flooded apartment? How does this reflect on ME? It offends me! Or, on the contrary, it gives me an opportunity to show my humility and nobility, yay! They ruined MY favorite books? That’s a tragedy! They deprived ME of a vacation? That’s a nightmare!
Each situation either gives me a new reason to be proud or hurts my self-esteem. And the more my Ego is hurt, the more important and significant the situation seems. If the situation strengthens my personal position, it is a good thing. If the situation questions my significance, that’s evil, that’s a problem!
And it would seem possible to change my view of the situation and to reconsider my habitual perceptions in order to dispel my illusion of the problem, but then the illusion of what has up to now maintained my self-esteem would also be dispelled (it is based on the same perceptions!), and besides, giving up your perceptions is personal political and social suicide.
Two against one. The conclusion is obvious: I’d rather have one problem than two hits to my self-esteem.
In this way, the distorted relative view of reality acquires solidity and persuasiveness. The relative ceases to be perceived as such, and becomes a personal absolute, for which, if the stakes are high, one could die.
For Honor, for Truth, for Motherland, for everything that makes me me in my own eyes. Survival of the perceptions of myself turns out to be greater than survival of the physical.
And now, if you take all the relative aside, what is left in the dry residue? Is a drunken neighbor’s flooded apartment a problem?
It’s easy for all of us to see this situation as a problem. We are all taught this view of life. But try, after all, to take your mind off the usual views, and at least allow for the possibility of a view of this situation from which no problem can arise here. Distract yourself from everything now. This is not your apartment, not your money, not your vacation. This flood is not about you personally, and it doesn’t affect you in any way.
ARE THERE ANY PROBLEMS AT ALL?
Is there a problem here, then? Probably not. Now put yourself back into the equation: your apartment, your money, your vacation, your time, your views-but just don’t cling to it. Can you look at your personal situation in an impersonal way? Everything is yours, but it doesn’t concern you personally. Try it. Try!
You just lost money. You just won’t go on vacation. You just need to redecorate. Give up your pride at least as an experiment, and you will find that there is no problem in a flooded apartment.
There is a new life situation that you have to deal with. Some of your plans will have to change.
Some wishes won’t come true. Yes, that’s right. But there’s no problem with that… as long as you don’t start fighting for truth, universal justice, and personal pride – MY apartment, MY flood, MY money, MY vacation.
In reality, there is no problem at all. And this is not some special mystical revelation – it is the banal of banalities, obvious in even the most superficial examination of the real situation. The problem arises from a limited and self-fixed view of life.
Imagine and think about it in a good way! There has never been a single problem in your life, not a single real reason for suffering and feeling miserable! You have created all your problems, misery and suffering out of nothing–out of your views that you are sorry to part with, out of your pride, which is more important to you than life, and in the end out of your stubbornness and desire to bend the whole world to your ideas.
LET GO OF THE WORLD AND YOURSELF WITH IT
At any moment you could retreat, take a step back and find the absence of the problem, but with persistence and diligence of a woodpecker you every time chose and choose to chisel the granite monolith of existence.
Was it worth it? Remember all those problems that made you weep and get depressed.
Remember all the problems that made you do a lot of damage and then regretted it. Was it worth it? Probably it was worth it at the time, or you would have done things differently.
But is it worth it to go on like that? Is this personal pride worth living the rest of your life from problem to problem? All life is war, isn’t it? Or is it?
The main reason for the intractability of problems is an unwillingness to accept the subjectivity and relativity of one’s view of reality. A sacred belief in one’s own rightness and objectivity: “If I see a problem, then there is a problem!”
But this is only a personal mirage – there is no problem! And how reluctant you are to give up your right to an objective problem, right? How much more complicated it would become if there was no one to blame for one’s misfortune!
There’s nothing wrong with the world, there’s nothing wrong with everything and everyone, but if your life is full of problems, then something is very wrong with you personally: you live in an imaginary world and you don’t realize it.