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If you’ve been that friend in the group that people come to talk about their problems and ask for advice, you have definitely experienced what I’m gonna talk about in this post. And if you’re the friend who goes with their problems, I think you can relate too.

Whenever someone comes up to you and describes their issue, it’s probable that you can see the obvious solution clearly in your head.

Or even if when you see someone struggling with something, the right step to take seems to be evident.

In a few words, it’s really easy to be the wise person that provides clarity and direction when it’s not our problem.

But when we are the ones in the situation, it all changes.

When it’s our problem, everything seems more complex and there are way too many possible solutions (or none at all).

Have you ever wondered why this happens?

When we are stuck in a problem, we can only see a small portion of the big picture, the one that is right in front of us.

Think of it like this.

You’re the soldier in a war against your opponent. In the same war, you also have fighter jets as a part of your team.

If you’re the soldier on the ground, all you see is the small area around you and your opponent in front of you. You don’t see the big picture of the entire battlefield or know what’s going on with other units. All you know is what’s happening right in front of you. But the pilot in the jet does have a bigger picture. He can see the entire battlefield and direct you accordingly.

It’s the same with our problems. We can only see a small part because we’re too close. But when someone else comes to us with their problem, we can see the big picture more clearly because we’re not as emotionally attached to it.

You can actually create psychological distance by changing your perspective. Look at the problem from another person’s perspective, and creative solutions will present themselves. By imagining your problem as if it were concerning someone else, you can artificially create a bit of much needed mental distance.

Creating psychological distance makes the problem less concrete. More abstract. Thinking about a subject as something distant makes it easier to make unusual connections. You free yourself from assumed limitations.

So the next time you find yourself in a difficult situation, think about what advice you would give your friend if they were in that situation and use that to find a way out for yourself.

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