Bill Cottringer

There is a mighty roadblock in the way of successful reality repair—fixing broken realities (social problems, economy crises, wars) and creating new and better ones we want (equal access to and enjoyment of abundance and well-being by all)—as the only genuine way to get the ultimate outcome of living which is success, happiness and peace of mind. This formidable obstacle is the huge challenge of exchanging views of a reality we are part of, which are currently unclear, incorrect, incomplete, impractical and overloaded, for views that are more correct, complete, concrete, concise, and clear.

Here is a brief discussion of the five C’s of successful reality repair:


Conscious thinking, unconscious intuitions, perceptions and decision-making aimed at getting a truthful and accurate picture of reality are all faulty. This is because the conscious brain is more of an efficiency machine than a truth-capturing one. Even though our unconscious instincts may be right, to act on them correctly, we still have to translate them accurately to the conscious mind and that often doesn’t happen.

That is the human communication dilemma—we communicate verbally and non-verbally, but it all has to be processed verbally and that is where the problems occur. The two systems play by much different rules and are mutually exclusive, but we act as though this isn’t so anyway. These two ways of knowing, thinking and communicating—rationally and “scientifically” gathering all the reliable facts vs. “thin-slicing” the situation to instinctually feel its rightness directly—can both be faulty because whatever we see we are automatically convinced that it is correct, complete, concrete, concise and clear when it fact it rarely is.


I am not sure if any one person, no-matter how intelligent or wise, can truly have a 360-degree picture of reality. I think this is the purpose of intimate relationships—so people can put their fullest two halves together to complement each other and get further together than each can get alone. The important people in my own life offer my creative, metaphorical understanding of important operating principles in life with their abilities at strategic planning and practical real-world applications of abstract ideas, and help me simplify my global approach by pointing out critical details to help me avoid missing the forest from the trees.

Often the viewpoint or location in time and place from where you are looking has more to do with what you are seeing that what the sight itself convinces you of. In other words it is very easy to misinterpret and wrongly react to an uncomfortable event that is happening to you right now as totally negative, whereas next week, under different circumstances, you can see both positive and negative purposes and outcomes of this previously viewed negative situation. Time alone does heal all wounds.


The starting point of success in anything is in seeing and understanding important principles as to how life and people really operate. These principles are abstract in nature and do us no good until we can “translate” them to the real practical world. As an example, I used to ask psychology students in their final exam to pick out the most important psychological principles in each chapter, translate these principles into their own language and tell me three ways they could apply them to their everyday lives to bring about more success in what they were trying to do. This last part of the assignment was obviously the most difficult, but the part that had the biggest payoffs

A very important psychological principle is that people will repeat behavior, stronger and longer, for which they receive periodic, unpredictable rewards. The gambling industry makes billions of dollars off this principle every year. Another important principle about people is that we all want to be treated equally for rewards and yet respected for our individual uniqueness when punishments are involved. At the same time we have many commonalities and many differences and when we address both sides of our human nature in our interactions with other people, we are much more successful.


The difficulty is in getting a complete perception and understanding of a complex situation in the middle of total overload that can be gleaned and compressed into a practical, manageable size for mass consumption. This takes a mind that is very disciplined, creative and synthesizing to get its arms wrapped around all the most important details of the overload in order to separate the most useful, practical and relevant information from the useless, impractical and irrelevant rest, which is always more.

There is no shortcut here. You have to wade through miles and tons of murky complexity with intense focus before you can be sure you have arrived at the right simplicity on the other side of the complexity for which Oliver Wendell Holmes pledged his life. After all, it is the Land of Simplicity that we are all searching for.


Actually we are typically deceived into believing our personal version of reality or a particular situation at hand is in fact clear. But usually being very incorrect, incomplete, overly abstract and over-complicated or artificially over-simplified (at least not without a whole lot of serious effort), it is very unclear. So, when we take the time and make the effort to get a perception and understanding of a situation that is correct, complete, concrete and concise, it will begin to be much clearer, and then our actions in dealing with it will tend to be much more effective and successful, getting us the outcome we want.

If you want to be more successful and have more happiness and peace of mind, then begin to use this standard against which you can best judge the true quality of your reality which you desire to fix in some way. Are you seeing the situation with enough correctness, completeness, concreteness, conciseness and clarity? If not, take the time and make the effort to do so and you will get the outcome you are looking for and want. The rest is easy.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA and also a business and personal success coach, sport psychologist, photographer and writer living in the mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, The Prosperity Zone, Getting More By Doing Less, You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too, The Bow-Wow Secrets, Do What Matters Most, “P” Point Management, and Reality Repair Rx coming shortly. He can be contacted with comments or questions at 425 454-5011 or