Remember this Sesame Street song?

One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn’t belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?

It’s one of the ways I problem-solve when listening to my clients. What is it, I wonder, that’s REALLY going on here? Where is the hole in their seemingly solid logic? What are the assumptions this person is making that unwittingly support and substantiate his/her counterproductive beliefs?

It’s like a jigsaw puzzle to me, I’ve been thinking. I’m not sure what the puzzle is supposed to be a picture of – often the ‘client’ doesn’t really know, either, which is an interesting sidebar for another time – but in the person’s describing the pieces to me, it becomes very clear (ultimately to us both) that at least one of them seems like it’s not quite right – almost as if it’s from a similar, but decidedly different puzzle!

Name it as such, and the ‘puzzling’ – to stay with the metaphor – becomes infinitely clearer AND easier.

How do YOU problem-solve?

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