4 Ways To Handle Any Problem Pt 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 by identifying “stay miserable” as a decision instead of something that just happens, it 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, 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).
  2. Reminding myself that I am using as much of whatever my currency as I have to spare (feeling better about the problem).
  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).
  4. Despairing, every now and then, because the current situation is hurting me and/or people I care about (staying miserable). 

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

4 Currencies to Change Your Community

If you enjoyed this article, you might also enjoy:

The Awesome and Terrible Thing About Being High Functioning

Executive Function Pt 1: What Is it?

or Executive Function Part 2: Hacks and Workarounds

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

or even Executive Function, Parenting, and Your Kid’s Messy Room

Marry, Shag, Kill: A Relationship Metaphor

… and to have a bit of fun, some microfiction:

Microfiction: Our Trans-Cyborg Overlords

Microfiction: Bluetooth’d

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Finally, I donate half of every dollar I make from videos, podcasts, and writing to my best friend, Katherine Malone.  She has a deadly heart condition and needs a heart transplant. Before she can be placed on the transplant list, she must raise $20,000 for anti-rejection drugs. Learn more here and here, and go here to donate directly to her GoFundMe. This will continue until Kathy’s heart is fully funded. After that, I will continue to donate half up to $500 per month to help her pay for her anti-rejection meds. 

A final reminder:  You are each important and have much to teach, and much to learn.

I look forward to learning from and teaching you all. Comment below or at any of the links to start the conversation. 

4 Currencies to Change Your Community



Jennifer Liles is the owner and webmistress for Jenni's Space and Responsive Mental Health Services LLC. She is dedicated to mental health and human rights for freaks, geeks, and queer folk. She uses the Jenni's Space label for places where she combines education about, advocacy for, and celebration of mental health and human rights. This information is primarily for neurodiverse people, people with mental health issues, people who are on the queer spectrum, disabled people, and Black and Indigenous and other people of color. There are also discussions for privileged people about privilege and how it intersects with human rights work.