03 May 2009

Facing difficult circumstances

With the recent and current increase in difficult circumstances (aka shit) I have been facing, I realise I must evolve in my problem management for long-term survival and to preserve my home and sanity.

When the same experience keeps recurring, it's a signal to take steps to move beyond it. I need to grow. And sometimes growing means getting new eyes to see rather than moving on to new vistas (ala Marcel Proust). When problems come in an onslaught, too many to handle, I either become paralysed or regress to primitive coping strategies (ala Jean Piaget and Aaron Beck) - ie. moralistic, absolutistic, irreversible, non-dimensional, generalising, character-judging, invariant, and personalising thought patterns.

The weak thought patterns are especially that:

  1. I allow problems to accumulate without resolution

  2. I overestimate the difficulty of individual problems

  3. I take an all-or-nothing view of each problem

(The two anxiety-provoking and stress-inducing mechanisms are in predicted difficulty and impact/implications).

New strategies should include:

  1. Solving the problem immediately where possible

  2. Consciously estimate the difficulty on a scale of 1-10

  3. Consciously estimate the implications on a scale of 1-10

  4. In my mind,:
Anticipated Impact = Probability X Perceived Impact (AI = Pr X PeI)


Anticipated Difficulty = Probability x Perceived Difficulty (AD = Pr x PeD)

The strategies above aims to:

  1. Reduce the AD by adjusting the PeD

  2. Reduce the AI by adjusting the PeI

  3. Eliminate the AD and AI by approximating 0 in the Pr

Methods of reducing PeD and PeI is to tackle

  1. Labeling (’ridiculous, unbelievable, disastrous’)

  2. All-or-nothing thinking (’completely, impossible’)

  3. Magnification

  4. Also, after resolution of the problem, it will be good to learn about our estimation accuracies this way:

    Difficulty Estimation Factor = Anticipated Difficulty / Real Difficulty
    (DF = AD/RD)


    Impact Estimation Factor = Anticipated Impact / Real Impact

    (IF = AI/RI)

    By looking at our DF and IF, I gain insight on how badly I overestimate (or underestimate problems) and learn to adjust for more realistic projections.

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