Hennessy's View

Domine, non sum dignus

How to Solve Every Problem

A friend of mine explained an interesting theory to me the other day.

“The natural tendency of the universe is to level everything,” he said. “This entropic force leads us to just ‘go with the flow.’ But what makes us human—what built civilization and made man noble—was when we finally resisted entropy. When we built a levy to keep our village from flooding, or when we learned to lure and trap, then farm, animals instead of tracking them. Those were acts of resistance.”

Fascinating. And it rings true. And everything worth doing meets up against resistance. The universe likes disorder, and man’s attempts to stand athwart entropy, yelling “STOP!” just piss it off.

But we do it anyway.

And in standing up to the universe, we take a great risk.

Another way to describe this act of resistance is raising standards. If you’re a Tony Robbins aficionado, that might sound family. In _Awaken the Giant Within _, Robbins admonishes us to raise our standards about everything.

That’s great, but it’s very difficult to successfully adopt more than one change at a time. So let’s put a little minimalism on this concept.

**The next time you’re faced with any problem, raise your standards. **

The tendency—the way the entropic universe wants you to handle id—is to lower your standards. Got a lot of student loans? Take a job the government wants you to take in exchange for loan forgiveness. See a law you don’t like? Complain to yourself. Don’t like your Congressman? Deal with it. Someone flips you off? Flip back and yell.

Those are all examples of lowered standards. How could you raise your standards for each of these to force a different outcome?

How about getting a second job to pay off the student loan early? How about starting a foundation dedicated raising awareness about that law’s consequences? How about supporting a worth candidate? How about smiling and saying a prayer for the bird flipper?

Do I follow my own advice? No. Not all of the time. I try, but I forget. I’m not as diligent as I should be about raising standards and many other things.

One of the reasons I’m stating this publicly, though, is to put more pressure on myself to raise my standards. By posting it here for friends and enemies to see, I will have to be more conscious of the need to lift my own standards whenever I’m faced with a problem.

That means every problem, from my emotions to my lawn care.

Here are three simple questions that help find the higher standard?

1. What do I believe that allowed this situation to develop?      2. What would I have to do to make this situation the way I want it to be?      3. What am I willing to stop doing in order to make it the way I want it?  

The answers to these questions will show you the path out of any problem and into a high standard for yourself. It’s worked every time I’ve tried it, anyway. I just don’t try it often enough.

I would love to hear about your methods for raising your own standards in the comments below.


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