I thank my favorite Western University psychology professor, Dr. Willis McCann. Mental Health, I think the name of the course was, for helping me talk about this seemingly huge problem they have to try to save the world. While we would like to, we can’t but we are already equipped with the “computer” that can do it, and it’s always on. You may have an inclination where I am going from here, but if read on you may be a little surprised.
Many non-psychology students took classes just because this professor emeritus was rather famous; he may have been a little senile by then. He used animal subjects to talk about human behavior in abnormal psychology, but it worked, kept us interested, got theories across. He was a fun professor who just made sense in this crazy world of the early 70s, and this Mental Health course was about not letting everyday life’s stresses (and you can include work if you like) get to us. He always used to joke with us that we couldn’t really “get a grip” or “get a hold of ourselves” like everyone would suggest; we could not work things out but sometimes the solutions just did that all by themselves which meant we, in a sense did all of the above.
I come from a social psychology background as well, and my mentor, Dr. Willis H. McCann, the chairman of my university’s psychology department then, had been a pioneer in a unique style of group therapy (1941), and was the first psychologist as opposed to psychiatrist to run a state mental institution and that was early on, had a philosophy of doing what works (for attaining good mental health). At that time, we had a about a ten percent rate of success helping those with mental illness; so in some ways he had to be already thinking out of the box way before it became a necessary cliché. He was equipped in other ways to help him from outside the box. He also had a Juris Doctor and Doctor of Divinity. Apply what we know outside our career; most us aren’t doing what we studied to do. Outside is the new Inside.
To Dr. Willis McCann problem-solving was cogitating–simple cogitating, allowing ideas sit and roll around in your brain. He didn’t care how you got there or which method you used. He compared problem-solving to praying, meditating, cogitating, sleeping on it–all ways that work in solving problems. He never held one higher than the other; it was the function that mattered. It was the 70s so maybe we were more excepting. He was one of those great broadly-thinking men who never made you feel he had all the answers; however, he did see many connections.
Praying, meditation or just sleeping on a subject does the same thing; it allows an idea to roll around in your mind without expectations, without manipulation until a subconscious answer comes to mind. Think about any problem-solving course of training that uses one of these methods. They all allow for a concentration on a verbal or nonverbal, auditory or inaudible statement of thoughts.
Doing what works and practicing it, so the experts say, will improve problem-solving. There a lot of games we can play in the boardroom, but let’s not forget we can, if we relax our mind find an easier way to problem-solving, whatever our age, our status in the firm, in our life.
I couldn’t sleep last night because I was “cogitating” and awake. More to come later, but this struck me this morning as a reminder that sometimes the hardest thing we do can be made easier by the letting go and let out brains to the work, while we stop trying so hard.
The simple reminders are often left short. In fact some of these ideas have probably appeared before because we know the Cave Man likes the simple. And sometimes the not too simple ideas of life’s enormous complexity leave us thinking too.
I received a call from a gentlemen that said his company might be interested in hiring me to teach doctors to act, since I also am a performance critic. No, we really don’t want to teach doctors to act; we want to teach them what actors gain from their audience and give them what they need–the truth, but in a way they will take it home and understand it–whatever the message.
Acting is not pretending; I hope I have established that in my many other blogs. What my gentleman caller really wanted was to help doctors give bad news, talk to patients in ways that can give them hope. Doctors, nurses and all medical people may come from different perspectives completely, one scientific and much more personal, but that’s another blog to be sure. That one I’m cogitating about right now; I can help, and that’s exciting.
I also have a website which goes into more detail since I do write on other related subjects like communication and theatre and work performance. Yes, “theatre,” I actually have a column and do reviews. And, please before the coupon expires from Smashwords, get a copy of The Cave Man Guide to Training and Development–A truly different look at training. I sent you to the site with the coupon.
As I sit here I realize I have never explained why I purposely use two words to describe the “Cave Man,” that’s me. Other outfits use it to describe the client. I don’t know about you, but I don’t live in a cave so I’m not a caveman. I do live in an historic home that feels like a cave, but I talk about the “Cave” and how it function as a center of the society of people working together so “Cave” is really short for “company, corporation, government agency, nonprofit corporation or service organization.” In short, everyone and where they work.
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