“More of the Same Thing”, when insisting is a failure #Watzlawick #Change

More of the same thing is what I call a “wrong tool”. It means : INSIST. Sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it’s stupid. Push push and push in a dead end. Seems easy, but we all do the same mistake.

The pattern is simple :

You have a problem. You think you have the solution. You act. It fails. So you think you have to insist, push, go stronger, “more of the same thing”. you fail.

The problem is “you think into the box”, and you are SURE you have the solution, and that if you insist enough, you will get it. And it’s wrong!

It’s an old classic, told by Palo Alto therapy searchers and Paul Watzlawick. If you want to save your couple, if you want to help someone, if you want to flirt, if you want to talk to someone who doesn’t want to talk : STOP. The solution? It’s at the end of this article!

The book? Paul Watzlawick : Change. Principles of Problem Formation and Problem Resolution.

The author gives an example (which I translated rapidly) :

A teacher in a class has a single kid “with problems”. She asks to meet the parents and learns that he has huge issues, comes from a broken family and is very lonely all the time. So she tries her best to take care of him and give the boy much more interest; but the solution is worse : his notes crash, he is more alone. She insists and it goes into a dead end. The therapist says that “the more of the same thing” she does, the worse it’ll go (what she does isolates the boy from the other kids, for example). She’s asked to ignore him. Only to compliment him if the notes are good. And it worked!

If a wife asks her husband to talk more to her, spontaneously, about his days or thoughts, he will tell little things as an effort, but he will feel more and more closed, which will… make the wife to be more focused on him, waiting, and “more of the same thing”, arguing continuously about why he doesn’t talk to her enough, which will embarrass him more and more, etc.

Chögyam Trungpa, who was a Buddhist Meditation Master, says that if someone answer “No” when you want to talk with him, you just have to disappear. If you don’t, if you insist, you just transform yourself into a nagging (oh, a new word!) Demon. He’s so right!

Of course you know the story of the bunch of guys flirting everyday with the beautiful lady in a bar, with no success. Only one guy understands the problem (“More of the same thing”). He just sits in the bar, no interest, showing his back to her. And paying her the most neutral way every night. And guess what? He become the only one who gets her interest…

The tool is also a dial :

It’s hard to detect when you insist “more of the same thing” stupidly, because you are SURE you’re about to succeed. Don’t be a demon. And think out of the box. Buy the book, by the way, it’s very good.

Thanks for reading!

#clown #lille3000




Beware of Double Binds!

OK I ask Wiki :

A Double Bind is an emotionally distressing dilemma in communication in which an individual (or group) receives two or more conflicting messages, and one message negates the other. This creates a situation in which a successful response to one message results in a failed response to the other (and vice versa), so that the person will automatically be wrong regardless of response. The double bind occurs when the person cannot confront the inherent dilemma, and therefore can neither resolve it nor opt out of the situation.

I always have in mind the story of a wife, telling her husband he’s a ass, because he never offers her flowers. This is a perfect double bind. Because :

  • If he offers her flower the day after, what’s the point, you silly?
  • If he doesn’t, he stays a donkey.

Well, see?, it’s a good concept to explore. I extended it in the simplest way : a double bind is :

Whatever you choose between A or B, you’re fucked

Here are four examples I stole on the web :

  • A man who is bored and stagnant in his job may be too afraid to make a change. If he stays, he suffers; if he leaves, he believes he’ll suffer. So he feels stuck.
  • A woman wants to end her guilty affair but fears she’ll remain unfulfilled in her marriage if she does.
  • A person heartily wishes to be slimmer but at the same time craves fattening ‘comfort’ foods.
  • A man wants to have sex but fears he will be ‘unable to perform’ and so avoids all sexual contact.

I’m building a Toolbox, so what’s the point? The point is : what is the solution?

Tool : First you have to detect you struggle because of a double bind. Then, you have to think and reconfigure something (your life? your head?). Finally, find a way to be at peace. It can be choosing one and killing the other. It can be getting the “WTF” option and playing with both options (life is short). It can be chopping BOTH options and go away. It can be a dolphin dance between one and two, because both are great. Or you wanna fight both. Whatever : all this is good because you feel alive, you have rushes, you have to move and to think. You go!

#intothewoods #decision