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Avery Post

On the Horns of a Dilemma – Part 2

Working Towards The Solution: Ways to Get Unstuck

What do you believe about all sides of the problem? How do you feel about all sides of the situation? The first step to resolve these conflicts is to clearly explore what are the competing emotions and issues – without blame or shame.

Once you are able to clarify these, it becomes more possible to see the actual stuck point(s). The interesting thing about emotion – emotion is energy and when we allow ourselves to entertain the uncomfortable ones we have been avoiding, once their message is delivered they might stop bothering us.

Does one value, belief or rule take priority? Since with a dilemma is not possible to have both things at once, does one trump the other?, If so, then that guides the final decision? Or, Can I change my belief about that? If so, this can move the decision making forward, especially if it allows accepting influence appropriately from others. The strength of the emotion attached to the belief/value/rule is a good barometer of either how hard it is, or how important it is.

Cost/Benefit Analysis: What are the costs and benefits of taking this action or not taking this action? If there is no clear priority, then a further approach may be helpful. Complete the four lists (cost of doing, cost of not doing, benefit of doing, benefit of not doing). Sometimes it becomes very clear what the cost or benefits are (the longest list), especially if you pair it with the emotions. If a clear decision seems indicated, then you can explore the possibilities if you were to carry it out.

Sometimes you have to re-examine beliefs, values & rules if you still feel stuck. Sometimes the current costs are too great, despite the importance of the value/belief/rule, and the decision has to wait for changed circumstances.

Relevant Research

We used to believe that just thinking about something - analyzing it would lead to the obvious solution. There is now research on human decision-making that shows knowledge and intellect must be paired with intuition (feelings) to solve human dilemmas.

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