Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Freemason Wisdom: Voltaire On Problem Solving

"No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking."

Les Neuf Sœurs, Paris, France

It's amazing what a big deal we make these days of such small issues.  It seems like we're always reacting to problems instead of foreseeing them.  It's amazing the pain you can avoid if you just take a few minutes each day and think problems through.  Unplug the iPod.  Turn off the TV.  Step away from the computer.

When I was young, I used to read a lot of Shelock Holmes stories.  When he was faced with a tough problem, he didn't just react.  He sought to understand it fully, by examining it from all sides.  He'd load his pipe, sit in front of the fire, and think it through before he did anything.  Some of his very complex problems were "three pipe problems."  Very often, the obvious would suddenly occur to him.  It was there all along, he just had to think through it.  Art very often imitates life.  The same is most often true in life, we just don't rely on one of our best tools to solve problems nearly enough--the power of our own intellect.  That unique collection of knowledge, experience, and wisdom we all possess to one degree or another. 

I solve a lot of life's problems walking.  Some of the most complicated and difficult problems I've ever faced have been resolved during those quiet moments when I can clearly think about them--and I mean really look at them from all side and all perspectives.  Very often I find what makes problems so difficult to work out is because they are charged with emotion.  There's been an argument about the issue, or your angry over it, or sad, or disappointed, or frustrated.  Take all the emotion out of it and just look at the issue at hand.  The answers you'll discover are rarely complicated once you get to a place of calm, remove the emotion, and work through it.  And rarely are the answers hidden.  They are there the entire time.  And once you see the problem clearly, the answer is nearly always there as well--and once you've resolved it, all the emotion that clouded it will disappear. 

Mankind has yet to build a machine better at solving problems, than the one God gave you between your ears.  When you learn to use it, you'll discover that life is a lot less complicated that you thought.


Todd E. Creason is an author and novelist whose work includes the award-winning non-fiction historical series Famous American Freemasons and the novels One Last Shot (2011) and A Shot After Midnight (2012). He's currently working on the third novel Shot to Hell which will be released in Spring 2014. You can contact Todd E. Creason at: webmaster@toddcreason.org

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