4 Ways To Handle Any Problem Part 2 Community And Society

4 Ways To Handle Any Problem Pt 2

As promised, this is 4 Ways To Handle Any Problem Pt 2. The first half is here. The concept is taken from the orientation to DBT therapy from Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., and consists of four basic points: 

  1. Solve the problem
  2. Feel better about the problem
  3. Tolerate the problem
  4. Stay miserable

One of the reasons I like this framing of the issue is that identifying “stay miserable” as a decision instead of something that just happens allows you to consciously choose or reject it, and even use it strategically as part of your larger goal. And because everything is political, this helps you keep your end in mind.

Four Currencies To Use To Affect The World

In talking about this issue on a community and societal (political) level, I also introduce the four major social currencies we bring to change at this level:

  1. Time
  2. Money
  3. Influence
  4. Power

We choose from among those social currencies depending upon our reserves and work to build those we don’t have enough of, in order to make larger changes that will positively affect our lives and the lives of people in our world. For those struggling with the difference between influence and power, influence is the ability to persuade others (presumably those with one of the other currencies, time, money, or power) and power is the ability to directly make a societal action.

For instance, a writer might be able to influence others to donate to a cause or volunteer for a cause or even persuade an official to choose a different action, while someone with societal power such as a business CEO, a politician, a judge, education administrator or similar person who makes decisions for an institution can make decisions based on the inherent power of the position.

Do You Mind? Tackling THE THING

Complexifying the “4 Ways” Concepts

The final major point I make with this video is that with regard to a particular issue, you might simultaneously be solving a problem while tolerating a related problem or piece of that problem while feeling better about another piece or a related problem, and feeling miserable about still another piece. This idea is adapted from motivational interviewing’s stages of change model and deals with how change is complex and non-linear.

For instance, suppose I am trying to get a specific policy initiative passed at any level of government. I might simultaneously be:

  1. Using influence and/or time to reach out to politicians with the power to pass the law (solving the problem) AND working through the action stage of change.
  2. Reminding myself that I am using as much of whatever my currency as I have to spare (feeling better about the problem) AND in the relapse, recommit, renew stage of change
  3. Changing my behavior to adjust to the reality that the law I want isn’t in place yet and “make do” (tolerating the problem), AND scribbling ideas in the planning stage of change.
  4. Despairing, every now and then, because the current situation is hurting me and/or people I care about (staying miserable) and stumbling through the pre-contemplation and contemplation stages of change.

(Side note: All of the community and society videos are at least partially applicable to family life as well). 


Thank you. 

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or Executive Function Part 2: Hacks and Workarounds

perhaps Executive Function Part 3: Forming Habits is more your speed?

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