Reality Repair Rx: A Critical Time for Thoughtfulness
Bill Cottringer

“You can’t behave your way out of a problem that you thought your way into.”
~The author.

This quote is a re-arrangement of an earlier one by Stephen Covey, “You can’t talk your way out of a situation you behaved yourself into.” They are both very true, but it is becoming painfully evident that the current doom and gloom isn’t going to be solved with action, at least with thoughtless action. Thoughtlessness got us into this seemingly unsolvable current predicament, and only thoughtfulness is going to spot the right, bigger more whole solution that is deserving of a sense of urgency in applying the right action.

Most of us aren’t happy with what is going on today (that is probably understated), but all the selling of simple solutions and quick reactions are just working to dig the hole deeper. The time has come for us to invest in individual and collaborative thoughtfulness that allows creative problem-solving of unfamiliar problems to emerge naturally.

It is common consensus that the solutions to complex problems have to involve rubber band-type flexible thinking—major transformations in shifting away from perspectives or paradigms that keep you from seeing great solutions, and replacing them by standing on your head to see what new view you might have. Such a larger transformation in thinking requires an openness to admit the failure of your current approach and turn it down-side up or outside-in. Success in solving today’s problems demands a major transformation in bigger thinking about the problem and the solution and the thinking about this.

Let’s use the common pursuit of happiness as a prime example. Without money—which very few of us have enough of today—the outlook for success in this pursuit of happiness is pretty darn bleak, frustrating and full of doom and gloom. So, we keep focusing our efforts to get more money in any way we can, but end up with even less money and less happiness. There is something innately wrong with this type of thinking, don’t you agree?

In one of the most stimulating and productive breakfast conversations I have ever had in over 65 years, a financial consultant fiend and I magically converged on the solution to this dilemma in which we are all being held hostage. The solution is to take a fundamental truth that we can easily agree upon and then poke small holes in it with “yes, but…” caveats to make it an even larger truth with even more application. This one of those ideas that has enormous consequences, that will take me and my friend some time to digest and put into action.

One very important paradox in life that holds us all hostage for awhile, and certainly some of us much longer than others or need be, is the appealing truth that “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”
Ironically, one of my earlier books was entitled, “You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It too,” as a way to expand the truth and application of a very popular earlier book “Who Moved My Cheese.” My “cheese” book tried to make an emotional and rational case for more thoughtfulness to solve this taunting cake paradox, but apparently the timing wasn’t right. The economic disaster had not yet set in yet, but now it has. So I am going to resurrect the main idea for consideration in today’s context. This is not so odd for me, being the Easter season.

Most of us would agree with the following statement: “We need money to be happy and we are very unhappy without it.” This translates to our cake and cheese paradox as, “You can’t be happy without money.” Practically speaking this is true, but that is assuming how you actually define the word “happy.” It is also assuming that any means can justify the ends to get you the ends that justify the means. Think about that one!

The way I would begin to poke holes in this “truth” about money and happiness is to begin with personal experience that tells me. “If you can’t be happy poor, you can’t be happy rich.” From there you can begin to see a broader definition of happiness, past the instant need gratification and “pleasure” that “money,” unfortunately is in fact, pretty effective in procuring. Sad but true.

The pursuit of authentic, genuine, and longer lasting happiness is what life is all about; but the continued thoughtless, greedy, immoral, and short-range means we use to get this end won’t ever work. This is a critical time for more thoughtfulness in transforming the common paradigms of “change and get results” and “selling sensible solutions,” to one of changing our approach to changing and provoking people to think and see past appealing solutions that don’t represent doing the right thing in the right way for the right reasons.

Personally, I am going to engage in a moratorium on my own pursuit of happiness, at least the way it is currently written. Instead, I am going to start exploring what today’s dread and angst is all about—Where is it coming from? What does it mean? What benefit is it bringing? This will be pared with exploring my own happiness in reaction to not being able to control these overwhelmingly negative events. Paradoxically, that may be what I can control to make my own pursuit of happiness stay in my sites.

This different approach of better understanding and more acceptance may be the best Reality Repair Rx there is and it’s free. How can you learn to be happy without money or what can you change in your current approach to get more money if that is your only way to be happy? This is the only solution that will help you solve the paradox of having your cake and eating it to! And it only takes thoughtfulness, which doesn’t require money.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA, along with being a Sport Psychologist, Reality Repair Coach, Photographer and Writer. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, Re-braining for 2000 (MJR Publishing), Passwords to The Prosperity Zone (Authorlink Press), You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too (Executive Excellence), The Bow-Wow Secrets (Wisdom Tree), Do What Matters Most and “P” Point Management (Atlantic Book Publishers) and Reality Repair Rx (Publish America). This article is part of his new book Reality Repair coming soon. Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 454-5011 or