New research finds that distance can be the key to cracking your dilemmas.
It's easy to become rigidly fixed within a view of who you are ("This is just the way I am"), and to become unable to envision possibilities for expanding your personal capacities, thinking, and emotions outside of that fixed view. Unfortunately, this disables you from enlarging your perspective, which is necessary to solve conflicts or problems that you feel stuck inside of, or unable to change or alter.
President Dwight Eisenhower reportedly said
that if you're having difficulty understanding
a problem and how to solve it, "enlarge" it. That applies to life beyond the battlefield or White House. That is, "enlarging" how you envision a problem or situation you're stuck within can free you from the limitations of the perspective that imprisons you to begin with.
New empirical research demonstrates this, and shows that, in effect, distancing
yourself from a problem or conflict enhances
your reasoning, and helps you find new solutions through a broadened perspective. For a study reported in Psychological Science
, Igor Grossmann of the University of Waterloo and Ethan Kross from the University of Michigan examined the ability to recognize the limits of one's own knowledge, search for a compromise, consider the perspectives of others, and recognize the possible ways in which the scenario could unfold.
The research found that you may think about a conflict more wisely if you consider it as an outside observer would.
"These results are the first to demonstrate a new type of bias within ourselves when it comes to wise reasoning about an interpersonal relationship dilemma," Grossmann says. "We call the bias 'Solomon's Paradox,' after the king who was known for his wisdom, but who still failed at making personal decisions."