Why do We Apply the Same Formula if it is not Effective?

Problems are one of our great concerns. Living is not a simple experience and is hindered by the natural difficulties that appear in everyday life. Much more when difficulties become problems .

Problems stall and block evolution and impede growth , especially when they are not resolved; people end up living with him and all his ecology revolves around the despotism he exercises.

The conversion of difficulty into problem and its perpetuation is the result of unsuccessful solution attempts. To this we must add the aggravating fact that these attempts – in themselves – have also become a problem; since the more you try to solve, the more of the same result you get and the more the original problem is installed in the system.

The attempts at solution are a series of actions and interactions that are aimed at solving the difficulty. These actions are the typical mechanisms to which the person resorts when faced with an obstacle.

In general, human beings do not exploit our creativity in the service of attempts at solution. Our conceptual frameworks governed by rational logic (and numerous are the opportunities in which logic is ineffective), have a very narrow repertoire that does not favor variation in qualitative terms.

However, we move better in the quantitative field: we tend to do more of the same, although the results do not point in the expected direction and failure is obtained. The following examples are proof of this. 

  • Despite the fact that the child continues with problems of study, the parents continue to resort to private teachers obtaining slight or no modifications.
  • The daughter does not want to eat and the mother continues to press her with plates of food, generating greater aversion to food.
  • The boss continues to use reprimand for the inefficiency of an employee. This produces more tension and nervousness, which increases their insufficiency.
  • The parents order the son not to shout, yelling at him.

As we see, these ways of acting to solve problems generate self-fulfilling prophecies : so much is about avoiding a topic that ends up building it in action.

Why do we do more of the same?

What are the reasons why we continue to apply the same formula despite its ineffectiveness? Why are the attempts at solution repeated and increased even if the opposite result is obtained?

The answers are in our mind, in the way we process information . Thus, the processes and mechanisms we use are based on:

  • The search for causes : our thinking is based on the logic of the linear why, cause-effect; that is, every time we see a result we try to explain the reason why it happens. 
  • The explanatory principle : the tendency to explain ourselves in a unidirectional and simplistic way.
  • The analytical method : we decompose parts, analyze each one and add them with the illusion of capturing and understanding the whole.
  • Binary thinking : oscillates linearly between polarities (black white, high low, closed open).
  • Mathematical logic: we apply deductive logic to the resolution of emotional problems.
  • Objective reality : sustain the search and belief in a unique reality, external to the eye and believe that it can be observed objectively. 
  • The search for the unique truth : to understand that there is only one truth and that it must be revealed in the illusion of solving the problem.
  • The insight : to believe that discovering that external reality, that one truth, explaining it and understanding it is the possibility of solving the problem. 
  • Cognitive inertia : tendency to apply repetitive thinking schemes and stereotyping cognitive domino- type processes .

These components form a way to address problems, analyze them and apply formulas to solve them. 

We all end up applying memorized solutions and reiterate the more of the same, while continuing to apply repetitive schemes. This rigidity of mental schemes forms our cognitive model, of which we are prisoners if we fail to exercise in creativity and exceed the limits of our mental boundaries. 

The left, rational and logical hemisphere is the one that predominates in the analysis of the situation for a probable solution. While the right, creative and more emotional, is relegated when it is the moment that must be activated most.

Leave the mental square

This process is clearly seen in the problems of ingenuity, for example in the problem of the nine points It is a simple and difficult problem to learn, but that is a clear example of failed solution attempts.

Nine points are placed (as the next figure indicates) and the slogan is to cross them without lifting the pencil with four straight lines. 

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