23rd June 2023 Mindset Development Group

Stuck in a rut? Given up trying? Tried every possible solution and nothing’s worked? Pig Wrestling, a fable by Pete Lindsay and Mark Bawden, has the answer.

Not only do the approaches covered help you re-consider your mindset and thinking towards problems, but it is also written based on how our brain works, optimising the amount of the information we take away from it. A win, win!

How to REMEMBER what you’re reading!

  • The method of Loci is a memory journey (or mind palace as Sherlock Holmes calls it!) The fable uses vivid imagery and distinctive objects to help us recall each step of “pig wrestling” problem solving.
  • The fable follows the primary character’s journey to learning the “pig wrestling” process, so we are learning as he is. As each section of the process is covered the characters summarise what’s been said, written in bullet points. This increases the number of times we interact and hear the information, giving us a better chance of remembering it.

Funnily enough these are memory techniques that we incorporate into our mental fitness workshops! If we understand how our brain works best and work in accordance with this, we can optimise our focus retention of information.

So, the elephant in the room…. or should I say pig in the mud pool! What on earth is Pig Wrestling? 

Pig Wrestling: A step by step process to objectively assessing our approach to problem solving, or problem cleaning as the authors put it. 

The pig is our problem… or what we think our problem is! 

Often, we wrestle around with a fixed view of our problems in our head and don’t get anywhere near to solving them. This is us wrestling the pig in a muddy pool and as George Bernard Shaw said

” I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. 

You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.” 

We say we’ve tried everything, but we haven’t otherwise the problem would be solved! Here is our “in a nutshell” summary of the pig wrestling process and how we can apply it to our own lives.

1. STEP BACK

Take a step back and take your foot off the wrestling ring fence. Analyse whether this is your problem to solve, whether you’ve seen the truth of the situation on the ground and whether this is something you should be doing right now.

2. PICTURE FRAME AROUND THE PIGS NECK: EMPATHY

We’re very good at framing situations and people. If someone does something once, we label them as a this type of person. Every time they do something we’re looking for reasons to frame them as this type again. Take the frame off the pig’s neck!

Grab a copy of Pig Wrestling

3. BUCKET AND SPONGE: WHAT ARE THE FACTS?

Think Cleanly. What assumptions and preconceptions are we placing on our problem? Clean the mud off and take the time to describe the situation in behavioural and factual terms. Here, you have an objective look at the problem showing the truth.

4. FEEDING TROUGH: ARE WE THE PROBLEM?

What have I tried so far to fix the problem? Are our attempts to fix it fuelling the problem? Hanoi had a rat infestation, the government created a cash for rat initiative to the citizens. Upon showing evidence of rats destroyed, they would be rewarded a cash payment.

The number of rats went up…. some people started breeding rats to get more money! Hanoi were fuelling their problem!

Grab a copy of Pig Wrestling

5. THE CRYSTAL BALL: FUTURE PLANNING

Look into your crystal ball into the future when the problem is solved. How would I know this is no longer a problem? By taking time to determine and define what a solution looks like we can focus on getting there.

6. GOLDEN NUGGETS: CONFIRMATION & NEGATIVITY BIAS

When Is this problem not a problem? We’re very good at noticing the negative… see our negativity bias video for more on this one! With our problems, they may not happen all the time, but it seems like it because it’s all we focus on.

Take time to consider the times the problem is not present. What does this situation look like?

Grab a copy of Pig Wrestling

7. BRIGHT PINK BUNGEE CORDS: GETTING TO THE ROOT CAUSE 

Now consider what must be present for the problem to occur. This isn’t just people but context. Look at all the how, what, why, where, whens.

8. SPOT THE DIFFERENCE 

Spend time comparing the golden nuggets and the bungee cords. What is similar and what’s different between these situations. This immediately tells us where the cause/s of our problem lies.
9. GREEN RECYCLING BIN: PIVOTING OUR PERSPECTIVE

If we view problems as the result of overdone strengths, creating change becomes less about fixing deficits and more about redirecting energy.

Grab a copy of Pig Wrestling

10. YELLOW WARNING SIGN: ARE OUR THOUGHTS TRUE? 

Our brain is very good at catastrophising and even making things up! This is summed up perfectly in this quote from Winston Churchill…

“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which has never happened.”

So, these pig problems of ours certainly aren’t pets! Treat them like a hungry tiger and stay clear!

BUILDING SELF AWARENESS

We can help ourselves out here and practice mindfulness by actively focusing our attention on an anchor, it can be helpful to use our breath for this. When we notice our mind has wandered or got caught catastrophising problems in the past and future, we gently bring our attention back to the anchor of our breath.

This action of bringing our attention back strengthens our ability to focus, enabling us to become more self-aware of our thinking mind and question whether thoughts are helpful or harmful before chasing them.

If mindfulness is something you’d find value in trying, our mental fitness app, The Pocket Mentor, provides a daily Mindful Moment; a short 2-3 exercise you can fit into your busy day.

Who Is This Book For? 

Anyone who has ever had or is struggling to overcome a problem. Let’s face it, that’s all of us! Even if you think you have good methods for overcoming problems, give this a read. It will take you an hour and will save you hours of chasing your pig’s tail with the next problem you face.

 

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