Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Liberate yourself from the pain of rumination

Multiple choice problems on standardized tests often present more information than the student actually needs to solve it. 

This is not an accident. Testing companies structure exams this way to teach kids how to read problems carefully for all the instructions, key words and hidden clues. 

It challenges them to discern relevant information and not disregard anything essential to solving the equation. 

However, about four percent of the time, according to standardized study guides, there will not be enough information to find an answer. And in fact, the final multiple choice option will be, not enough information to solve this problem

That’s a really important sentence. Especially in the test of life. Because unlike standardized exams, many of the problems we’re presented with are unsolvable due to a lack of information. 

And yet, we worry ourselves sick trying to answer them, expending all of our mental energy fighting an unwinnable war, and it doesn’t help. It doesn’t move our story forward. And it definitely doesn’t solve the problem. 

Take job interviews. Your conversation on the phone might have gone brilliantly, but that doesn’t mean you have enough information to know whether or not you got the gig. 

You have no idea how many candidates they saw, what their hiring budget is, how soon the need to fill the position, or whether or not your criminal record of unsuccessful bank robberies is conflict of interest. 

There’s not enough information to solve this problem. 

And so, don’t fall in the trap of worrying about it. Worrying about something in advance is creating conflict before any actually exists. 

Liberate yourself from the pain of rumination and just move onto the next thing. 

Are you spending your precious energy worrying about how others view you, or spending that energy taking good care of yourself?


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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
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