The proverbial hammer? The law of the instrument, law of the hammer, Abraham Maslow’s hammer is a cognitive bias that involves an over-reliance on a familiar tool. As Abraham Maslow said in 1966, ‘I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.’ This article intends to point you to new tools through highlighting the cost of having only what you have.
Every Tuesday I start my day with reading Rob Brezsny’s email. And every Tuesday it’s been putting me in a foul mood for the past 6 months, not before.
Why? Because every campaigner is like the man who has a hammer and sees everything as a nail. And keep banging away with it on everything.
But the world is not all nails, and the particular hammer Rob Brezsny has…
…is unsuited to cause workability, or people to be happy, love themselves, and the world. And to eliminate what you don’t want: the stuff you can’t or won’t take care of.
The syrupy enthusiasm, love and passion that needs all those funky educated words is still syrupy… but guess what: if you cover crap with syrup, it is still crap. If you cover deer droppings with chocolate, they are still deer droppings, not praline.
OK, rant over… let’s do some work, shall we?
In my classes I teach the sequence of inside and largely invisible events that lead to results. Any results, good and bad and so-so.
This is actually a tad incorrect: the first two items arise simultaneously, at the same time.
The words and the seeing. This step is where the hammer you hold makes you see only nails.
This first step words+seeing is like a coin, with two sides. No matter how thinly slice the coin, it will always have a front and a back. Together. Like when you switch on the light: it happens simultaneously with the light…
Which is the cause? Which is the effect? They are conjoined…You can’t see different with the same words.
The moment you actually see something the words are already there. Without words you don’t actually see. The sight organ sees, but YOU don’t. And it happens all the time, doesn’t it?
You walk by things, you avoid lampposts, dog shit, ruts in the road, but you never actually saw them, because you didn’t actually say anything.
Same when you drive home, and you have no recollection of how you got home… you ‘woke up’ when you parked by your house. Obviously your eyes saw the road, the traffic, the traffic lights, but you, you didn’t see them.
I used to have a cat. She used to stare at me and not see me. She, I could feel (remember: I am a true empath), tried to see what that thing was, but I intentionally didn’t move, didn’t make a sound, so she didn’t see me.
That is how animals see.
But humans have to have words. This is the difference between animals and humans.
What you know, what you expect to see, is the hammer…
How do I know this?
I have been experimenting with this for decades.
One of my tools is this simple 52 card solitaire, Freecell. Every single distribution of cards can be solved. This is a very important information.
You lay out the cards, 8 columns. the goal it to reorganize the cards in the right numerical order. If the layout of the cards in front of you looks not soluble, then either you can’t see how, or you made some bad moves.
I often get to this point: no solution. Especially because I play only while I watch movies, while I coach, while I do my pondering on the work I do, or some other important brain stuff.
And when I get to this point, no solution is visible, I consider that I can’t see the solution. I consider that I don’t see anything I don’t expect to see.
So what do I do? When I can, I leave the game open and start doing something else.
Now, why is this important to you?
Because if you observed yourself, your knee jerk reaction is always: I can’t, it isn’t working, I am not cut out for this, It’s too hard, I am too stupid, this will never work, hell with it, blah blah blah.
You abandon, prematurely, things, learning, reading, skills, assignments, projects, dreams, relationships, diets, energizing your water, everything.
No grace, no grace period, no ‘let me give it a chance‘… none of that.
You yell if it is with another person, or you toss the thing if it’s just you.
This is why there are more talented failures, smart and/or educated never-do-wells, than there are imbeciles, morons, mentally challenged people. Far more.
I have my share of these in my courses.
The Sight capacity that I have turned on for many people has turned off… because unless the person’s ‘words’ change, it doesn’t matter what your eyes see, you won’t see it.
When I say you, I mean your conscious you. Even if Consciousness, your Observer sees something, if there is no communication between you and your Observer, you don’t know the Observer saw something, you don’t know that you should allocate some attention to find out what it is… you are not in the habit of allowing subtle guidance to guide you, to tell you what to do.
You miss nearly everything you encounter, in articles, in movies, in books, in conversations, in courses… everywhere.
How much do you miss? It depends on how much your expectation covers your cone of vision… but we can safely say: most people miss at least 90% of everything.
I have been training myself for decades, and yet I still miss a significant percentage of what I encounter.
This is why I have this habit of sitting, playing Freecell, and pondering.
Why play Freecell? Because just sitting and doing nothing with my hand is not possible for me. Some people knit, crochet, do woodworking, gardening, cooking, the dishes. I play Freecell. I don’t play to win, I play to occupy the busy mind, and my hands. This is the ideal condition for me to ponder.
Pondering is replaying ‘encounters’ where I felt I was missing something, but didn’t have a chance to stop and ponder right then and there.
Movies, books, conversations. So, like ruminants, I regurgitate what i missed and see it, now consciously.
Lying in bed, I have tried, doesn’t work for me. The busy mind immediately distracts the process to some b.s. thing… useless, out of control.
But Freecell is perfect. I also used to use washing the dishes, cooking, gardening, driving, eating, all entirely kinesthetic in nature, and free the conscious mind to connect to The Observer to get the data that was missed.
I think people use ruminating, the word, differently than I use it… so I’ll stick to ponder… the word.
My two teachers, Ben and Troy are not kinesthetic… So they use talking, inner or outer, discussions, ranting to increase the percentage of what they see…
You need to remember that seeing starts the whole process that leads to having.
Everyone dreams of having without having to go through the process… But it is not satisfying to the soul.
Seeing+word leads to being/attitude leads to doing. And ONLY ACTION LEADS TO HAVING.
Most people practice not-doing… and that leads to not having what they wanted.
Addressing the process on the doing level is fool’s gold.
And that is what most programs do… don’t they?
If you can influence the process on the words/seeing level, then you’ll have a chance to get to what you want.
Why don’t you influence the process on the seeing level?
Because you don’t see much: we have handled that.
But you also don’t see much because you don’t recognize what you see, even if you see it. The words are not accurate.
We call the words that pinpoint accurately what you see distinctions. Distinctions allow you to recognize stuff, phenomena, the kind of stuff you habitually miss or mis-identify.
We call people with a lot of distinctions astute: having or showing an ability to accurately assess situations or people and turn this to your advantage.
Over the years I have taught all the distinctions that I have taught… some I only taught in my articles, most I taught in my courses.
I learned those distinctions, one by one over 40 years.
The ‘proper’ and expeditious way to learn them is the way I learned them, not as a campaign, but as a weekly course.
You watch a video, you learn or start to learn and recognize the distinction. Then you listen again if it isn’t clear. Once it is reasonably clear, you start to walk around in the world like the guy with a hammer, and start seeing the world through that distinction. By the end of the week you’ll be able to recognize the distinction even if only its ‘tail’ is visible, or only its effects.
Only when you get this far, you are ready to tackle another distinction.
While you increase what you can see you are also having fun. Hunting is fun. Learning to see new things is fun.
And while you are at it: who you are becomes bigger, nicer, more joyful and happier. Guaranteed.
Now, if you do it dutifully, like homework, no magic is possible. Force and magic are mutually exclusive: only one can be present at any one time.
If you buy the 53 invisible before the end of the week, I’ll give you free access to a new podcast I am planning, where I am going to elaborate further on the distinctions.
I created all those 53 videos 8-9-10 years ago… and I may have some more interesting and enjoyable things to say… now that I am even more aware of those distinctions.
This, effectively doubles, maybe even triples the value you can get from the program.
And for a change of pace, I’ll make it available both on the mobile app and on the desktop: I just refunded someone’s purchase who hates phones… and I want to be able to serve everyone.
I haven’t started recording the audios, so you get in on the ground floor if you get the 53 invisibles program now.
What if you are one of the many who have already purchased it, and started to use it dutifully? Will you get the podcast? No, you won’t. But you can subscribe to it, before the end of this week, for the price of peanuts… popcorn, whatever you like to eat while you listen to podcasts.
For now, as a placeholder I’ve uploaded the latest Sunday call… and will remove it as soon as I have recorded the first podcast episode… today, tomorrow, whenever I find the time.
So for a day or two you can get that call recording I normally sell for $25… until I remove it from the program. I just needed a placeholder…
Anyway, if you don’t have the 53 invisibles program, you get the podcast as a gift, if you buy it before the end of the week, April 4.
If you have already bought the program, please expect an email with a buy link for the podcast… I don’t want to post the link here.
OK, here is the link to buy the 53 invisibles, the 100 distinctions in videos.
Start to learn your distinctions that enable you to see