This is a story with a funny punchline so it might be a joke as well. It's a story I frequently tell my clients as I know that using humor is one of the best ways to teach lessons that resonate and stick with us. So here goes:
So a guy goes to see a psychiatrist (standard joke lead-in). He goes into the psychiatrist's office which is huge and very fancy. Beautiful furniture, expensive rugs and the doc is wearing a very expensive, hand-tailored suit. He's obviously very successful. So the doctor asks him, "How can I help you?"
"Well, Doc, I've got this really serious problem and I hope you can help me." And the doctor says, "Tell me about the problem." So the guy says, "Every night as soon as I get into bed and turn off the light I think there's someone hiding under my bed who's going to come out and kill me. So I turn on the light, get out of bed and look under the bed to make sure no one's under there. And then I feel OK and get back into bed and but as soon as I turn out the light I think maybe I missed some place or he sneaked in while the light was off. So I turn the light back on, get out of bed, look under the bed and this goes on all night. And I'm not getting any sleep. Do you think you can help me?"
So the doctor says, "Yeah, this is a really serious problem but I can help you." So the guy says, "I'm really desperate and willing to do anything. How long is it going to take and what's it cost?" And the doc says, "I'll have to see you three times a week for a year and I charge $300 per session."
Well, the guy is really shocked and wants to know why it costs so much. So the doctor tells him, "This is a very serious problem that's gone on for a long time and is going to take a very long time to fix. We'll have to do a very comprehensive series of tests, medical work-up, extensive family history, we may even do some hypnosis past-life regression to see if there might be something in a previous life that's causing the problem."
So the guy says, "I need to think about this, can I get back to you?" And the doc says, "Of course, think about it and let me know what you want to do do. But keep in mind that this is the only way we can solve this problem." And the guy leaves.
Well, the guy doesn't come back and about a year later the doctor is walking down the street and runs into the guy. The doctor says, "Hey, how are you doing? You had that really serious problem and you said you'd get back to me but I never heard from you so I've been wondering how you're doing."
"Great, Doc, my problem's solved and life couldn't be better!" So the doctor asks him how he solved the problem.
"Well, Doc, actually my bartender solved the problem and it only cost me five dollars."
Now the doctor is really confused and asks the guy, "Wait a minute, you had this really serious problem and you're telling me your bartender solved the problem, and for only five dollars. You've got to help me out here, what happened?"
"Well, Doc, after I left your office I stopped off at my neighborhood bar and was telling my bartender about my problem. So, the five dollars was for the beer and he told me to go home and saw the legs off the bed!"
So you see, we can get too caught up in analyzing the problem, what started it, what's perpetuating it, how it's screwing up our lives and how we feel about the problem. But this doesn't tell us how to solve it and sometimes keeps us stuck in the problem. When very often the solution is quite simple. Sometimes what we need to do is saw the legs off the bed.
Next Time: HELD HOSTAGE TO HABIT