Gretchen Rubin

Podcast 247: Use the Solomon Paradox When Dealing with a Difficult Situation, and How to Persuade a Rebel to Wear His Seatbelt?

0:00
Download

Update: At long last, we have merchandise! T-shirts, mugs, hoodies, tote bags...for the Four Tendencies and also the Happier podcast. Buy something for yourself, put an item on your holiday wish list, or buy gifts for others. People have asked for this for so long—thrilling to have it ready at last.

Try This at Home: Use the Solomon Paradox to your advantage.

This idea, though not with this name, was suggested by a listener who is trying to stay positive after being let go from her job.

The “Solomon Paradox” is named for King Solomon, who was famous for his wisdom but made terrible decisions in his own life.

Research shows that when we distance ourselves from the problem at hand—by thinking about it in the context of a different person, not ourselves—we can judge it more clearly. Like King Solomon, we're better at giving advice to others than giving it to ourselves.

In a tough situation, rather than asking yourself “Why am I behaving this way?” ask, “Why is he/she behaving this way? What should he/she do?” Thinking about it in the third person helps you to think more clearly about issues like: do you need more information and context to understand what’s going on? Are you taking others’ perspectives into account? How many different futures can you imagine?

We mention the Try This at Home suggestions to "Treat yourself like a toddler" and "Treat yourself like a dog" or "Think about your future-self." These are ways that we can give more perspective to our lives, by thinking of ourself in the third person.

Happiness Hack: In response to the listener question about keeping in touch with family across the country, many people recommended the free app Marco Polo to keep in touch. It is basically the video version of voice mail.

Know Yourself Better: Would you like to be a twin?

I mention the thought-provoking memoir One and the Same: My Life as an Identical Twin and What I've Learned About Everyone's Struggle to Be Singular by Abigail Pogrebin.

Listener Question: Rachel asks how she can persuade her Rebel husband to wear his seatbelt.

If you don't know if you're a Rebel, Questioner, Obliger, or Upholder, take the free quiz here.

Gretchen's Demerit: I've been procrastinating about answering tough emails.

Elizabeth's Gold Star: Elizabeth gives a gold star to Jack’s chess teacher, who is so enthusiastic about teaching chess to kids. A teacher can transform a child’s whole experience.


Resources:

Thanks to Our Sponsors

More Episodes For You

icon schooled

Find out if you’re an Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, or a Rebel.

The Four Tendencies explain why we act and why we don’t actOur Tendency shapes every aspect of our behavior, so understanding your Tendency lets us make better decisions, meet deadlines, suffer less stress and burnout, and engage more effectively.

Take the quiz

Get My Monthly Newsletter

Sign up to get my free monthly newsletter. It highlights the best material from here, my Facebook Page, and new original work.