When you're a hammer everything looks like a nail

When you're a hammer everything looks like a nail

Imagine for a moment you have a toolbox. Now to have a toolbox without tools would be silly so think about what tools you'd select to fill said box. If you're like me I'm sure you've started with the basics. A screwdriver, a wrench, maybe a knife and then maybe a few more specialised tools depending on your craft. Now it would stand to reason that for every task we would need to complete we would take a moment to assess the task and select the relevant tools. Sometimes more than one tool will do the job, for example we could drive a nail into a piece of wood using the base of a wrench but a hammer is more effective. Now think of this toolbox as your mind and think of the tools as modes or mechanisms of thinking. Within our mind we have several mechanisms of thinking, many are modes that have evolved as responses to stimulus that have one way or another allowed our gene pool to progress. Sometimes these mechanisms of thinking can be consciously over ruled by mindset to befit a purpose. An example of this is Stoicism. An ancient philosophy that embodies a way of thinking with uses that extend right through to the present day. Overcoming most scenarios with a stoic mindset is a surefire method of increasing your chances of a successful resolution but is it the best method for dealing with every situation? I'd argue the answer is no. There is no right or wrong but there is better and there is worse. Some situations require the stoic but in some situations to use Stoicism would be akin to hammering the nail in with the base of the wrench - it does the job but there are better tools available to us . Another method is mindfulness meditation. Meditation is a method of observing ones thoughts in an analytic matter in order to gain a better understanding of where our thoughts originate and to give us a more holistic view as to where we fit in the scheme of things. There are some situations where mindfulness is a greater aid than Stoicism and there are situations where a completely different mindset works . The point of this article isn't to try and rank one method of thinking above another but to look at the breadth of modes of thinking available to us. The more tools or methods we have at our disposal the better equipped we become. There is no one size fits all method to dealing with any scenario and however the more experience we gain and the more tools we add to our repertoire the better equipped we become. The master isn't the one who uses a singular method to deal with every situation that arises but he who can select the correct response at the correct time to deal with the situation with maximum effect.