Perception and Maslow’s Hammer 2

17 March 2010, by A. Cedilla

Coming in from part one:

How you deal with your goals and problems shows how you see things. It’s like the cake or icing question. Do you tend to want the sweet stuff first and the hard stuff later, or do it the other way ’round, or do you mix the two?

And if you want to change this, can you do it for the long-term?

Try things from a different angle of approach. You can accomplish stuff using any one of these approaches singly –at least other than what you normally do– or mix and match.

The combinations and permutations are fascinating — in terms of requiring your attention, and helping you think differently– and if you embrace the new insights the process can give you, ultimately life-changing.

Of course, it would be difficult at first when you adjust your well-worn reactions to problem solving, but that’s just it.

If you’ve gotten used to solving problems using one approach — hammering them down, so to speak — you might think you’re getting into the groove. Hitting the sweet spot. Getting into the rhythm.

But without change, grooves become ruts. The longer you stay in one, the narrower your vision becomes, and the less flexibility you have in dealing with whatever life throws at you. There’s not much room to move in a rut, especially a deep one. And there are always good and bad points about the way you deal.


For example, getting the hard stuff out of the way seems to be the most common most reliable approach.

  • It builds up discipline and stamina. The more things you’re able to accomplish, the more you can do. And the more that’s given to you. (This can be good or bad, depending on how you’re willing to take it. And what you want to make of it.)
  • It’s essential in helping you establish a good habit, if you keep at it long enough for it to stick.
  • It frees up time in the near future with the things you take care of today.
  • Sometimes, always putting the hard stuff first (note the qualifier ‘always’) leaves little time for just enjoying life in the moment. Keeping your nose to the grindstone can become a habit that obscures the little joys of the day.
  • Doing the hard stuff first just to get it out of the way may sometimes pave the way for more problems, when waiting just a little bit more could have presented a new twist to the situation (going off half-cocked, say) or let new information come to light.


When you do less of the DNW and more of the WYW – you’re focusing on what you find satisfying.

  • You gain instant (or close-to-instant ) satisfaction, which boosts self-esteem. It’s a two-fer, because you also get to do something you like even as you get it done.
  • It demands you really work to know what you want, need and require to be satisfied, happy, and or content. And let’s face it, sometimes people don’t want to get to know themselves to that level. It’s scary. You might find out you’ve been ‘holding back’ for nothing, and that nothing was holding you back except the fears you refuse to address.
  • It demands no less than your best effort to go after it, because hey, it’s what you really want right? And since most of the DNW’s are out of the way, you got no excuse not to go after it. (Refer to ‘scary’, above.)
  • You get little to NO training for the hard stuff if the nice stuff is all you want. With no exceptions, everyone is presented with things they’d rather not have to deal with, and yet they have to deal with them in order to mature. The only things you have to give up in the process are your illusions and your fears.

(Side note: One of the things you have to deal with — no exceptions– is death. Life’s short enough without fear making your decisions on how to live it.)


When you choose not to do DNW — and do only WYW — your focus narrows down.

  • By choice, you’ll need to off-source and out-source what you don’t like doing to other people, and then if you’re OCD that way, you’d need to manage others to do it according to your specifications.
  • You won’t hurt (much) when you let these things go entirely — but you don’t get to complain, either. Which is actually a good thing.
  • If your agenda conflicts with other people’s agenda — your WYW is their DNW…you need to deal with that.

Be aware of how you mix up your problem-solving approach each day, and in what various percentages. It’s not an all or nothing proposition where you pick one way and stick 100% — in this, being a slacker just gives you room to move, and room to welcome things as they come.

With new ways of seeing things, the important point here is to keep refining your new vision. Get to know and focus on what truly matters to you, and know which tool to use to build on these things.

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