You may seen the YouTube video It’s Not About The Nail
Its not, except when it is. Sometimes we think we know what the problem is and so when the obvious solutions do not work we become puzzled and frustrated. We might give up or try harder with the same solutions. Remember, sometimes its just not about the nail and here’s why…
We all interpret our life through the lens of our experience, our culture, our era, our gender, skills & knowledge … we gather up all kinds of rules and beliefs as we live life. Sometimes we drop old rules and beliefs as we learn something new or experience something that changes our thinking.
But too many times we try to solve our problems through this same ol’ lens. We interpret the the situation through the lens. We think of solutions through the lens. We then ascertain what skills we already have to solve it and generally try our very hardest to fix it. Sometimes we end up in the same place as we started which is both puzzling and frustrating. At risk of continuing the hardware analogy
If you only have a hammer everything looks like a nail.
Sometimes the problem is about something else. In this gently humorous video clip the moral of the story is that how the young man is communicating with his partner is more important than the nail. Her need to be understood is her most important lens in this instance. Her solution is to feel heard. His lens is “no nail = no problem, so remove the nail.”
And they are both right in their own ways.
So any problem can be about both, the nail and the needs that are most important. Those needs will be linked to you values and priorities in life.
When we work to resolve issues we need to not only explore the issue from our current level of thinking and understanding (be heard empathically and remove the nail), we also need to give ourselves the opportunity to view the problem from a completely different level of consciousness. In the wise words of Einstein:
No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.
Many people use meditation or prayer to still the conscious mind just enough for the rest of our mind to offer up possibilities and solutions. People often experience an a-haa moment when daydreaming, or in the shower or when doing something repetitive like running or walking. The conscious mind relaxes and other thoughts can come through. There is that moment when they come through and we have a choice. We can give them consideration or we can allow how habitual patterning to screen it in or out based on the level of thinking that created the problem. Its a bit of a dilemma – we need to keep the conscious mind relaxed enough so that it can consider possibiltles outside its normal frame of reference (or lens).
This is where hypnotherapy, NLP and even art therapy can help. Using processes which relax the conscious mind just enough for new, fresh solutions to arise at a higher level of consciousness, and holding that inner critic or nay-sayer at bay just long enough for the new idea to be given consideration. Then we look at the practical implications of all the options.