William Cottringer, Ph.D.

“What is reality anyway? It's nothing but a collective hunch.” ~Jane Wagner.

Whatever definition you give to “reality,” one of the biggest challenges in life is to learn how to successfully fix broken realities and create desirable new ones. The rational rules for successful reality repair are really quite simple and easy, but you don’t realize this important reality until you have had enough failures at living life forwards and understanding it backwards, in seeing and doing everything else other than these simple rules. This is the miles of gray space we invent to spread ourselves away from these simple rules, which we eventually wander (wonder?) back upon.

Here are the ten simple rules of successful reality repair. Yes, it would be nice to know and use these at the beginning of our lives to eliminate much failure and frustration, but then again they have always been available. Nothing being this true is new, but just old and retold.

1. The rules were established before the game started. That is just the basic fact behind the many failures we encounter by putting the cart before the horse which always ends up as the tail wagging the dog. In anything, you have to fit in first and then make what you are fitting into better from the inside out. If you don’t start like this, you can attack reality with all the weapons in the world and won’t be successful in changing a single thing. First things first.

2. Knowing your purpose is the best start. Why are there so many books about finding and following your purpose? Because it is the best beginning approach to reality repair! By knowing your basic purpose in trying to do something, you have defined the finish line clearly and correctly and then all you have to do is focus on the few ways that will take you there, like all these other simple rules. Without a clear purpose in mind, the finish line is all over the universe and very hard to get to.

3. Having the right perspective always helps a lot. What is the ‘right’ perspective? Again, we don’t have to re-invent it, but rather just have to eat humble pie and put aside our pride and see it. The right perspective is already there under your nose. When you give in trying to re-invent the wheel you see the unquestionable value of being positive and hopeful, especially in adverse, uncomfortable situations (see # 9 below for more explanation). And you also see that a middle, balanced viewpoint and position is usually (not always) the best vantage point to see in all directions, which always uncovers the finish line. But, that takes good timing, which is always important in getting a more correct and complete view of reality. What you see is often a big part of where in time and space you are doing the looking from.

4. Success is what you get from doing what you have to do to get it. So what does that circular truth really tell you? Not much, because ‘success’ is what you add your unique brainprint to. Nobody can tell you what success or abundance is for you, that is something you eventually sense as either being so or not. When its not, you often adjust your definition of it or change your approach to getting it (# 7 below).

5. It is critical to know when you are getting to the point of no return, before it comes and goes. Fine tuning your sensitivity to this rule takes much failure experience before you learn the lesson. Whoever feels totally certain knowing when to fish or cut bait with something? The only solution is to learn how to articulate your gut feelings better (see # 6 below). Your gut instincts usually only turn out right, when you understand them well enough.

6. Feelings are the best guide. Now here is a valuable rule I wished I had known six decades ago. How do you know if you are moving in the right direction with your reality repair efforts? Simple answer: You have positive and negative feelings. The first are all variations of love and the second different aspects of fear. When you feel positive and good you are moving in the right direction and when you feel negative and bad, those negative feelings are a gentle warning that you may not be moving in the right direction and that you may need to rethink your approach. I just haven’t figured out what the neutral feelings signify.

7. Results only come with change. When you are stuck and not succeeding in your reality repair efforts, it is because something needs changing that is not being changed. And oddly, it is not always the particular change you need to make that counts the most, but rather it is just making some change that gets you unstuck. Reading or talking things over with another person is the change that always helps me most in improving my reality repair results. So does re-examining my basic purpose behind what I am trying to do.

8. Conflicts and problems are the best hiding places for solutions. The best perspective to have about problems and conflicts that can be changed for the better is to see that they are opportunities for you to be your best. Being successful in solving problems and resolving conflicts requires you to be more flexible, assertive, balanced, sensitive to timing, tenacious, systematic, optimistic and creative. These are all noble character traits.

9. Now is always training for the future. The more you learn from the mistakes you are making now, the better the future will be for you. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun learning this rule! Learning, growing and improving may be the best sources of genuine happiness and satisfaction in life. Maybe they are our main purpose for being here?

10. There are no facts, just interpretations. This last rule comes from Fredrick Nietzsche. My interpretation of this is that there are unlimited interpretations and applications of these ten rules and that is what makes this reality repair business so challenging and interesting. Sooner or later though, we have to realize that we may be making it more complicated than it needs to be.

If these ten rules seem simple and easy, it is probably because you are already using them to successfully repair realities with your own interpretations and applications. If not, it is just because you haven’t waded through enough chaos yet to see this simplicity. Be patient. You will!

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA., along with being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too (Executive Excellence), The Bow-Wow Secrets (Wisdom Tree), and Do What Matters Most and “P” Point Management (Atlantic Book Publishers). This article is part of his new book Rational Reality Repair Rx coming soon. Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 454-5011 or bcottringer@pssp.net