By Mark Shreffler

If you ever counsel or manage people, this posting will be valuable for you.

Many problems begin when we take on other people’s problems as our own.  This is a chronic issue in relationships of all descriptions.  Marital, business, government.  At the heart of this assumption of problems is the desire to help – the purpose we all hold in common – so it’s an instinct born of a very social, if sometimes misguided, impulse.

People going down their own roads can create, from the sum of their own cowardices, a unique set of problems.  One can get quite tangled in these when he moves to help.

Have you ever solved a person’s problem and noticed that he then hands you another?  And then another, and another.

“Please give your grandmother a kiss or she will be upset.”  Grandmother apparently has an issue with not getting respect  or with being rejected or some other problem she has created but not solved.  The bottom line here is that she refuses responsibility for her own problem and lays it at your feet.  If you do not take action, she will be upset and she will blame YOU!  If you are not willing to experience grandmother’s upset, you take on grandmother’s inability!

She is a spider drawing you in to her web, and you help her to trap you by your inclination to be helpful. There is no evil intention on her part, particularly. She is simply a victim of her own creation, and looks to you as a solution for this.  When you volunteer for the position you are suddenly saddled with a more permanent position than you might have expected.

Who has not seen the manager who is compulsively trying to solve the problems of his employees, or the over-attentive parent who tries to solve every problem his child encounters?

It’s almost an axiom that 5% of the population are trying to solve the problems created by the other 95. This percentage came about because of this social instinct to take on other people’s problems, rather than training them to solve them themselves!

This is not to say that we should not help people. It is the essence of civilization to allow and even succor the impulse to help.  But we need to help people solve their own problems without adopting those problems as our own!   This 5% should turn their attention to TRAINING the other 95 so they can resolve their own issues.

My friend Ron Hubbard once observed that there are only two reasons why any productive area goes down.  One is not choosing your people correctly in the first place, and the other is not training people on their jobs.   Get the hiring right and train people correctly to solve their own problems and the rest is progress.

Violation of these fundamentals account for the overwork of the 5%, and the onset of the welfare state.

A classic example of this would be the American government.  This is a collection of politicians who consider their job is to get elected.  They are, generally speaking,  utterly untrained and unqualified to solve the issues that they are elected to resolve. They are salespeople, not administrators.    Why are we then surprised to discover the country in a shambles? The entire show has the look of a carnival during an earthquake.

Bad hiring. No training.

There is a particular tribe in Africa that had been dwindling for many years, and when an investigator had a look at what was going on she revealed an old custom at its core:  it was considered unmannerly for a son to do better than his father.  This aberration had started some years earlier with the dictate of an arrogant tribal leader.  Rather than confront the pain of embarrassment, these people by agreement with this suppressive policy harnessed their young generations to this artificial monitor of appropriate behavior, and the youth – being trained to obey their elders at all costs – acquiesced and followed the group to extinction. They accepted their elder’s problem as their own.

It is particularly destructive when we find that a sociopath has risen to a level of power.  His staff, not recognizing his criminal nature, find their desire to help gradually harnessed to an ill wind.  It all began when they took on this boss’s problems as their own.  There was a time when they received an order that they thought was unacceptable, but out of a fear of the pain of the boss’s reprisal, they acquiesced and complied.  That began the slide to personal oblivion.

The legendary mother-in-law who dominates her children’s household only has free reign because these children “Do not want to upset mom.”  They don’t notice that mom’s upset is inevitable and continuing because they make themselves her “solution.”  It is an incorrect path that allows the problem to spread.  The children learn “not to get in trouble, ” which means avoid the pain of life at all costs.

Learning is always preceded by pain.  The pain of being rejected or the pain of embarrassment or the pain of seeing the look on Grandma’s face when you refuse the kiss.   The unwillingness to experience pain is the beginning of incompetence and stupidity. People who work to avoid pain want you to experience it on their behalf.  You do them no favor by doing so.

People who are willing to throw themselves against life and damn the pain that might ensue are those who carry the civilization on their shoulders.

But this fundamental is an important guidepost: the moment you take on someone else’s problem as your own, you lose your grip and set yourself upon a downward slide.

Fortunately, most people can be easily brought back on track by getting them to isolate the real problem and taught how to solve it themselves.

This is a change of operating basis that opens the door to a new civilization: don’t fix their problems, teach them how to fix them.  Training is the key to our future.

Here is an important clue that stood me well when I operated as a consultant:   if you set out to solve a problem and the problem doesn’t solve, you’re solving the wrong problem!  A lot of the technology of problem solving has to do with correct identification of the actual problem.

An excellent example of this was a company that wanted to hire me to solve their training program.  I had a look at the program and it was pretty good.  In fact, there were many issues in this company of a more serious impact. So I went to the steering committee and asked them why they thought their training program was wrong. They replied that they “could not get anyone successfully through it!”  I asked “WHO is ‘anyone?’”  They gave me seven names, and we tested these people and discovered that they were morons.  I mean, the highest IQ in the bunch was 85!

Corporate training programs are not designed to handle morons, though I have seen some that enhanced stupidity.  The committee’s actual problem was their hiring line, and this had been going on for so long because of the management’s inability to spot the correct source of problems.

We discovered that their Human Resources exec was, herself, an idiot and utterly lacked the training required to accomplish the optimum result of a recruiter.  We replaced her and trained the new team which handled their REAL problem – the recruiting procedures – with considerably less expense than the cost of fixing a training program that did not need fixing.  In the process of doing this we trained the steering committee in how to correctly identify the source of problems, and everyone lived happily ever after!

Don’t take on other people’s problems.  You have enough of your own, and their’s won’t solve anyway until they learn how to solve them.

Help them with that!



+1 # Paolo 2013-03-12 17:27
Thanks this is a great article. I am a successful business consultant. What you write is really useful.
+1 # Scientoblogger 2013-03-12 17:29
Excellent article, Mark ! Very clever and very interesting !
+1 # Roland 2013-03-12 19:32
Thanks, Mark! I needed this input!
Dean Blair
+1 # Dean Blair 2013-03-12 22:44
I don't agree with this at all. It sounds like more radical Scientology.

This paper or essay you have written has been posted on ESMB and is not being received well. I suppose we may all be "idiots" to you and you can apply some more Radical Scientology and disconnect.
Lana M.
+3 # Lana M. 2013-03-12 23:46
Hi Dean,
Thanks for your comment. If you do not agree with the article, that is OK.
No one here judges you or anyone else who has different views. The creed of Scientology states that all men have inalienable rights to think freely, to talk freely, to write freely their own opinions and to counter or utter or write upon the opinions of others.
What is true to you is true to you.
I have separately written to you by email.
+1 # SKM 2013-03-13 09:35
you need to understand this data is for use in the business world.
You just wouldn't hire people who are not qualified for the job.
Would you?

True, it sounds a bit "radical", but in business you can not be reasonable with your resources.
And you can't hire people on "hope for betterment".
This doesn't mean the people are worthless. They just don't apply for the job and you better know it.

You can of course read something else into it.

calvin b. duffield
# calvin b. duffield 2013-03-13 13:31
SKM, well said! If we talk about hiring of staff, who in their right mind, would want to hire a moron? That to me sounds more moronic! As a businessman myself, that type of thinking would be suicidal for my business, and surely the
same for any other business too!

In relation to Shreff's essay, it is a veritable lesson in how to choose your people, in order to get products out....not to accede to taking on peoples problems.

To Dean: Please don't take things too seriously, (lighten up a little,) life is
much more fun if you don't let yourself
get bogged down with OTHER people' problems, mate.

You might want to check out one of Mark Shreffler's videos to see what I mean.

Lana M.
+1 # Lana M. 2013-03-13 15:00
I edited your comment slightly.
Moderation policy here is based on tolerance, on the Creed of Scientology and also on the Auditors Code. In saying that, it is still very much a forum for Independent Scientologists -- not for anyone else to simply come and create entheta. If someone has something they wish to say, from their reality, this is a safe space for it.
Dean's name is on the Indi list and he was an auditor in the past, he has a right to say he does not have the same reality and he will not be judged or labelled or disconnected from, as he presumes. There is nothing radical occurring on this blog -- just practice of standard LRH Scientology. Hope that clarifies the moderation policy.
calvin b. duffield
# calvin b. duffield 2013-03-13 19:00
You're completely fair Lana. Understood!I guess I was coming from a place of huge loss (financial!) by having not gotten the simple advice (common sense, actually,) that Shreff made in his post, about NOT taking on other people's problems. Certainly was some BPC coming off on my part! Thanks anyway.
ML, Calvin.
Lana M
# Lana M 2013-03-13 20:32
As they in Oz -- no worries mate!
# Sindy 2013-03-13 17:14
Understood so, where does Grandma fit in? I guess that's where the contention comes in.
Lana M
# Lana M 2013-03-13 18:32
Hi Sindy,
Who is your question directed to? To Mark Shreffler?
I understand there has been contention on ESMB regarding the mention of refusing grandmother's kiss. I will ask Mark to clarify this statement if you are not understanding what he was trying to communicate.
Mark Shreffler
# Mark Shreffler 2013-03-13 19:31
Hi Sindy,

The principle I wanted to illuminate applies across the boards in any social situation where someone comes to you with their problem - a family member or an employee or a spouse. Grandma was an example I used because sometimes these people will try to extort" your support with their tears or threats to not love you anymore or whatever. Sometimes it's as simple as, "Grandma will feel badly if you don't give her a kiss." Now, kissing someone when it is not your choice to do so violates your own reality, and starts you on a downward slide. At the other end of the spectrum we have people here in the United States that say "If you don't agree with this, you are not a PATRIOT!" They say this to extort your opinion or to forcefully change it. It is not the way of a person of integrity to compromise with his own reality, and it is upon their ability to hold this viewpoint that the channels of a civilization are drawn.

I hope this helps.

When you compromise your own reality to "solve another's problem, you make that person's problem your own - and give yourself a kick in the pants to boot!
# Aaron2010 2013-03-13 18:44
Referring to people as "morons" and "idiots" is not any form of Scientology and is offensive. Not only that, if it makes grandma happy to kiss her, what's wrong with making her happy? That doesn't mean you are taking on her problems it only means that you want to make her happy.
Mark Shreffler
# Mark Shreffler 2013-03-13 19:33
If it does not violate your reality to do it, go right ahead. The issue I wanted to raise is that we do not help people if we do not assist them in dealing with their issues. If we always do it for them, we do them no service.
Jim Logan
# Jim Logan 2013-03-13 19:09
It is really heartening to get to know people like yourself, through these postings, that are actually aware of and apply with good intention, the fundamental truths of life that Scientology expounds. You, Steve Spargo, Bernie Wimbush et al, are people who get out there and do it, on a reality level that communicates broadly and you all have helped tremendously to lighten the game up, with wins and techniques that are so easily used.

I had an ugly Aunt, who would want a kiss from us when we were kids. I didn't as she was oooky. Eventually, when I was an adult, she would frequently chide me. In the end, when she was in her late 80s, she admitted that among all my siblings, she respected me for my ability to observe and act for myself. I kissed her then, as she was beautiful.
Mark Shreffler
# Mark Shreffler 2013-03-13 19:35
Now THAT is what I'm talking about! Thank you, Jim, for so eloquently demonstrating the point of my posting.
calvin b. duffield
# calvin b. duffield 2013-03-14 07:49
Shreff. Sometimes people do and sometimes they DON'T....d-u-p-l-c-a-t-e .......(copy,savvy,comprehendo,unde rstand,or just plain get it!) I believe it often comes down to the WILLINGNESS to do so!

In Scn Axiom 28, DUPLICATION precedes UNDERSTANDING, otherwise communication is
never achieved, is it?

I can just imagine the frustration Ron
put up with throughout his lifetime, just
in regard to getting people to dupl....!

Great article, BTW mate! We had huge discussions and revelations over it back home. Super well done, as always, Shreff!

ML, Calvin.
Mark Shreffler
# Mark Shreffler 2013-03-18 14:51
Thank you, Calvin. I enjoyed very much your addition as well. It put me in mind the clay demo I once did of Axiom 28 in LARGE clay figures. Man, that was a life changer! Thanks for that reference.
L, Shreff
+1 # KBaker 2013-03-14 14:44
Interesting article. I think most people come across "energy vampires", "drama queens" and "attention ho's" in life. There *are* those kind of people around, that tend to drain one, and always be needing more. And they manipulate those around them emotionally to get what they need.

In terms of Grandma, above, though my approach would be different. I would give her a kiss. And then I would talk to her to find out why it is so important to her. It may be that she fears approaching death, or it may be that she is feeling "thrown away" by society for being an Elder (a malaise especially prevalent in Western Civilization). It may be that she has had very little love in her life. For me, it is not a question of letting her take my power away, it is a matter of empathy, which is very different to "sympathy". I can have empathy for another, even a manipulator, without taking on their problems, and without letting it drain me. Sometimes just being interested in the person, and listening to them is enough. But if it is not, and they keep coming up with new problems, then they cannot be helped as such, but one can still have compassion for them even if they are creating it themselves. But that is just my approach and view.

I do agree that in the matter of business, many appointments are made for political reasons, and not for ability, and it is thus very valuable to find the core of the problem, and address it there - that is efficient and effective. The whole world would turn around, I believe, if appointments in governments alone, were made on the basis of ability and competence, as well as a will to do the job in the interests of all, and the people served. Instead, unskilled puppets serve their backers, who have their own agendas. The world is in the state it is in, in my view, because of this aspect - unskilled people, as well as excessive greed and self-interest ahead of the interests of others. You make excellent points there.

calvin b. duffield
# calvin b. duffield 2013-03-15 00:58
Nice touches, Kim and I also agree with you on all points. Of course Shreff, has gone to a lot of trouble to clarify his points, which have immense value in straightening out society, so that it can function properly.

And hey, who has'nt encountered the proverbial, domineering "battle axe", posing, like 'the wolf' in Grandma's

That said, there happen to be wonderful, caring souls, in our midst, posing as Grandma, who once happened to be and in many cases still are "Ma!"

I still love that great leveler of body age, for it's mitigating value:

.......Age is just a number!!!!........,

ML, Calvin.
# KBaker 2013-03-15 07:25
Hello Calvin, thanks for your comments.

Indeed, the cycle of age is one that gets us all, and in the end, it is character that counts, irrespective of age. However, no-one is perfect (I sure am not!), and most people are doing the best they can, in my view.

By the way, I am also in South Africa, maar ek woon in Kaapstad, so jy is nie alleen nie.

(Translation: but I live in Cape Town, so you are not alone).

I am not an Indie, just for the record, but I seek to listen and to understand, and find areas of common ground, since the Indies I know are all beautiful people, and of great courage. We will not always agree, but hey, no-one said we had to.

I do support the right to freedom of expression and communication, and freedom of religion. (Which makes me an 'enemy' in the eyes of the Co$, and they kindly gave me my SP Declare in 1995 to confirm this). :D

Anyhow, cheers, and have a great weekend!

calvin b. duffield
# calvin b. duffield 2013-03-16 11:29
Nice to hear more about you Kim. And I have to say that you definitely live in a more favored corner of S, Africa! Die Kaap bly
nommer een ne? (the Cape remains number one

Thanks for the briefing, too. We must chat some more.

ML, Calvin.
# KBaker 2013-03-17 15:35
You're welcome Calvin. Yes, the Cape definitely is nommer een, but I grew up in Durban, so love it too - it has its own magic. You are welcome to chat to me if you want. You can ask the moderator/s for my e-mail address, and they have my permission to give it to you.


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