Complex Problems Require Complex Reasoning: Part 1

Friends and Colleagues,

Can I help you understand why 1 out of 2 people will reject you for having a different opinion today? Can I help you consider why those that reject you may get downright nasty about it?

It is an understatement to say that there is so much going on in the world. At the same time, not everyone has the ability to think deeply enough to be on the solution side of resolving today’s complex problems. While everyone’s voice is important, not everyone will be able to help to resolve today’s complex problems.

Here is a theory that is going to change your life and hopefully the way you relate to others. I hope this information will also support you in standing up for our American freedoms today and share your voice in a peaceful and respectful way, while not allowing others to bulldoze you:

Human development theory, according to Robert Kegan (The Evolving Self), claims this:

  • Almost 50% of adults are operating from a grade-school or teenage level of reasoning ability
  • Almost 50% of adults are operating from an adult level of reasoning ability

Please let me offer how this impacts the voices in America today.

Those approximately 25% of adults who are in adult bodies yet functioning within a grade-school level of reasoning and emotional maturity see things in a black and white manner. That means that situations are either this way or that way, right or wrong, good or bad, positive or negative, etc. This plays out today when people use grade-school reasoning to see their opinion as right and your opinion as wrong. Either you agree or you are accused of _________. Fill in your blank with the negative term that has been used to describe you for having a different opinion. These adults are still reasoning at a grade-school level.

Adults who are still reasoning at the grade school level may have good information and be quite smart, but they have not reached a level of maturity where they can hold multiple concepts, even concepts that may be polar opposite, together. Growth at this reasoning level would be to consider multiple perspectives at one time in order to think more deeply. These individuals only have room in their minds for their own opinion and are not able to consider another view, or your opinion. So that is why you get the reaction.

Then there are the approximately 25% of adults who are in adult bodies yet functioning within a teenage level of reasoning and emotional maturity so they resist and rebel against authority or perceived authority as many teenagers do. That means that situations that require deferring to leadership, management, peers or others out of the interests of meeting the needs of the greater good will be resisted. This plays out today when people use teenage level reasoning to see all or most authority as wrong, abusive, out to get them, etc. Either you join them in the rebellion or you are accused of _________. Fill in your blank with the negative term that has been used for disagreeing with teenage level reasoning today.

Adults who are still reasoning at the teenager level may offer excellent points and be intelligent, but they have not reached a level of maturity where they can work through their strong emotions in the moment in order to reason and consider an alternative view. Their emotions keep them locked in to seeing only their side of the situation. Growth at this reasoning level would come with being able to control one’s thoughts, feelings and own will in order to engage with others in a peaceful way to learn, grow and expand one’s view. However, individuals get stuck at this reasoning level due to their lack of self-control and self-discipline.

Those of you reading this post who are parents, consider what it is like raising a grade-schooler or a teenager and think about how you can apply this understanding to half of our adult population.

This is not a judgement nor intended to look down on anyone or raise anyone over another person; this is a statement of fact. Therefore, as you consider the voices today, listen not only to what is being said but the tone of how it is being said to see if you can pick up on the maturity level of the individual.

Voice is power. All people are valuable and ought to be respected. All voices should be respectfully heard. But not all voices are reasonable and can be reasoned with. As you know grade-schoolers and teenagers have good ideas and their voices should be heard, but most of them don’t have the higher level of reasoning ability needed to collaborate to solve complex problems. Their black and white or rebellious thinking holds them back from being able to reason within a “grey” and complex world.

Let’s take a pause here. As you consider the voices around you, what level of reasoning ability are you at? What reasoning level are you seeing around you? Think about and observe this dynamic over the next week. Let’s have peaceful and respectful discussions, not one that demeans or disrespects others. Then let’s take our thinking deeper next week. Same time, same station.

Contact information for speaking, training, consulting, coaching and writing:

Dr. Jeanine Parolini, PhD, MBA, MA

Phone: 651-295-6044
Email: jparolini@gmail.com
Website: www.JeanineParolini.com
Social Media: linkedin.com/in/jeanineparolini or facebook.com/jeanine.parolini

Our Discomfort with Discomfort: Part II

The most difficult area of our hearts to deal with in the midst of distress is our insecurity. Discomfort presses in on us and causes us to feel apprehensive. It appears to be another person or a situation that has caused us to feel insecure. Rather than look to the other person or the situation, what we need to reflect upon is our uncertainty and give it over to God. What happened? How did it cause insecurity? How can we move toward God in our anxiety and find more inner security with Him?

Rather than blame a person or a situation, if we look within and up to God, we can continue to remove the denial in our lives that says we don’t need God. Actually, we always need God to heal the uncertainty in our hearts, especially during times of distress (Philippians 4:6-9). Letting God know we need Him and surrendering ourselves to Him moves us from insecurity to inner security. Our inner security is found in Him.

Dealing with insecurity is such a normal part of the human condition that we ought to discuss it more in our Christian circles. At the same time, facing our uncertainty can deepen our need for God and therefore our relationship with Him. So it is something that we want to engage in and embrace.

Insecurity requires faith to overcome it. Faith is unseen but it is a real antidote for insecurity. Faith needs to be acted upon (James 2:17). When God is trying to speak to us and we don’t seek to understand Him or His words or we get distracted, we are not able to bear the fruit that God intended (Matthew 13:18-23). Our times of insecurity are the moments to enact our faith by letting God know we need Him and surrendering to His presence, over and over again.

Question for discussion: What creates insecurity in you? How do you manage it? How will you manage it in your future?

Contact information for speaking, training, consulting, coaching and writing:

Dr. Jeanine Parolini, PhD, MBA, MA

Phone: 651-295-6044
Email: jparolini@gmail.com
Website: www.JeanineParolini.com
Social Media: linkedin.com/in/jeanineparolini or facebook.com/jeanine.parolini

Our Discomfort with Discomfort: Part I

There is a longing in the human soul to be comfortable. Deep down, we desire peace, harmony, tranquility, and freedom. We are drawn to ease. It is important in our lives because it lifts our spirits. Yet comfort can also come with a cost.

When we experience dis-ease, we tend to believe something is off or wrong. Disharmony, disturbance, agitation, turbulence or restraint cause us discomfort. We don’t like being uncomfortable. It can drain us. Often, we feel this way when things don’t go our way.

What if we move toward engaging rather than avoiding our discomfort? Let’s consider those times when we don’t get our way and it leads us to a better way. Just as we can gain from the comfortable times in our lives, there can also be blessings, maybe more than we realize in the moment, in our distresses.

Discomforts come in all shapes and sizes. People and circumstances can press us to feel anything from annoyed to irritated to frustrated to angry to hateful.

How do we know when our discomfort will result in fulfillment or drain? To start with, we need to humble ourselves to God in prayer. God sees a bigger vision for what is ahead than we do so we need Him to prompt us with how to proceed (Hebrews 4:13). A step to take when we are faced with distress is to surrender ourselves and the situation to God in prayer by asking Him to speak, to give us a listening heart and to guide our actions (Proverbs 3:5-6, James 1:5, Hebrews 11:6). When we surrender our distress to the Lord, it enables Him to use it for our good (Romans 12:1-2).

If we try to control the situation, that is likely when discomfort begins to result in a negative drain on our lives. At that moment, we are trying to handle something independently apart from God’s oversight. When we step out from under God’s perspective, then we lose our way (Romans 13:1-5). We lose touch with Godly discernment, wisdom, and God’s protection. We are in danger of being sapped by distress at this point.

Rather, when we continue turning our uncomfortable situation over to God and surrendering ourselves to His plans, we continue to bring ourselves under God authority, protection and direction. We may face danger but we are not in danger. Our mission here is to keep close to God in prayer, to continue surrendering ourselves to Him, and to continue to listen and seek His will. God will move in our hearts and in the situation. We may have major worries to fret about yet God can and will provide for us (Psalm 34:19). God will work it out on our behalf and the behalf of His greater plan, which we may not see (Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28). We can count on the most difficult situations being worked out to our good when we remain close to God in prayer through surrendering ourselves to Him.

Stay tuned for Part II in two weeks.

Question for discussion: How comfortable are you with discomfort? How do you manage it?

Contact information for speaking, training, consulting, coaching and writing:

Dr. Jeanine Parolini, PhD, MBA, MA

Phone: 651-295-6044
Email: jparolini@gmail.com
Website: www.JeanineParolini.com
Social Media: linkedin.com/in/jeanineparolini or facebook.com/jeanine.parolini

From Goon to Good: Part II

Calling out to God as a good God begins to offer hope to our soul (1 Peter 5:10). In our humanity, we are bound to believe the worst about God in our pain. Yet once we admit the pain and give God a chance at being good, we have changed the trajectory of our pain. We are no longer bent over in focus on our consuming pain. Our attention is now on a good God who is above and over all pain.

God really does have control over all things, including our pain (Psalm 34:19). When God is able to bring his goodness into our hearts, He can relieve that pain over time. Pain relief begins with believing God is good. Pain relief continues as we more fully receive the goodness of God into our innermost parts. We can even let our entire soul become captivated by God’s good presence. The goon has now become the most beautiful part of our lives!

Being consumed by God’s goodness is a lifelong journey. It is one of the most important parts of Christian sanctification. Without this captivation, we are at risk of losing our hope and our light. Fascination with God’s goodness can keep our hearts safe in God’s presence as we engage within a very lost world (Psalm 34:8, 84:11).

The tensions within our world today are on the increase and weigh heavy on our souls. The world pictures God as a bully, terrorizer, and thug as well as an oppressive, angry and spiteful force. The world postures God against people and against what is best.

The Christian soul recognizes this as a spiritual battle and not about people against people (Ephesians 6:12). Each of us must fight the internal battle of our heart in recognizing God is good (Galatians 5:17). God is aware of our pain and working on behalf of goodness in this world (Romans 8:28). The battle begins in our heart as we fight to believe in His goodness. We take this battle into our relationships with others as we trust His goodness in our circumstances. People around us can feel the goodness of God come through our souls as we engage (Matthew 5:14-16). This reflection of God’s goodness is being the light in this world. Let our light shine in this dark world. Let God’s goodness consume our hearts.

Question for discussion: Can you relate to this internal battle? If so, how? Is God your Great Pain Reliever?

Contact information for speaking, training, consulting, coaching and writing:

Dr. Jeanine Parolini, PhD, MBA, MA

Phone: 651-295-6044
Email: jparolini@gmail.com
Website: www.JeanineParolini.com
Social Media: linkedin.com/in/jeanineparolini or facebook.com/jeanine.parolini

From Goon to Good: Part I

The most important decision we can make in this moment is whether God is goon or good. Yes, really! As we consider our heart today, is God a bully trying to terrorize us? Or is He working on behalf of the right things in our lives?

Is God goon or good? Its amazing how one letter can completely change the context of a motive! I’m also struck by how quickly and intensely I can move between God being one or the other.

When God is the goon in our lives, all our hope is lost (Mark 10:27). He is set on disturbing us and making life miserable. He offers us exactly what we don’t want. He is out to punish us rather than meet our needs. He has no good in mind. He is taking away what we really want. He has no clue how he is impacting us.

My heart is then set on questioning him. I don’t believe or trust him. I don’t feel he has good intentions. He is dead set against me and what I need to make life work. He doesn’t know what my best interests are or my deepest longings. He is just out there acting on behalf of everyone else and his own interests. I doubt he even notices me or my plight, let alone cares. I feel completely lost, abandoned, rejected, and alone. I have no one and no hope.

My interactions with others are draining. I don’t feel like anyone really cares. My pain is so great that I am absorbed in it and by it. I am focused on my own hurt as I interact with others. I have needs but no one seems to notice. My desires go unmet. No one understands. No one is interested. No one is really present to my pain and hurt.

This is a downward spiral. In this state, we are depressed, anxious, frustrated, angry, and lonely. It is a hopeless state. It feels like a bottomless pit with no way out. There is no comfort here. We need a good God to rescue us from the goon we have made Him (Psalm 107:28, Isaiah 12:22)!

A simple prayer like “God help me” can begin to crack open the window of our heart and let God’s light in (Psalm 30:10, 109:26). Asking God for mercy can continue the process (Hebrews 4:16, 1 Peter 1:3). Begging God to come and be present can begin to show that we do think He is more than a goon (2 Timothy 4:18).

Stay tuned for Part II in two weeks.

Question for discussion: Can you relate to this tension with God? If so, how?

Contact information for speaking, training, consulting, coaching and writing:

Dr. Jeanine Parolini, PhD, MBA, MA

Phone: 651-295-6044
Email: jparolini@gmail.com
Website: www.JeanineParolini.com
Social Media: linkedin.com/in/jeanineparolini or facebook.com/jeanine.parolini