How Are You So Calm?

My answer to the question is nearly always: Better living through pharmacology. It is not always true, despite eliciting a smile, chuckle or mood-altering laugh.

In our last visit, we discussed my method of thinking things through and planning. This question hits on the post-catastrophe far more than What were you thinking?

Much like in the forethought, Assess/Prioritize keeps me from panicking, completely blowing my stack or running naked (with scissors) into traffic tearing at my hair. All the same rules apply after something goes horridly awry as they did before such calamity arrived.

Assess: The possible solutions

Prioritize: The most effective solutions

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!”

To listen to Robert Burns¹, being a mouse is not such a cowardly pursuit. Our best laid plans do go awry. How we face them is the difference between crippling aftermath effects and substantive progress despite such misadventures.

NOTE: Read the remainder in its entirety or stop reading here. If you begin formulating your response before you reach the end, you may well step away with the wrong idea. If you are a math phobe, relax.

x (A + B) = S

AYour gut instinct. Everyone has instincts, although some have more sensible instincts than others. This is a combination of innate ability and learned behavior. A is your initial reaction. Be it call the news, have a conniption or crawl into a hole and pretend nothing happened, we all have instincts.

Looking back for a raw score on your gut reactions can lead you to question your instincts. If your history is bad, you will soon know why there is more to the equation. Do not stop making decisions merely because you have made no-so-great (or even disastrous) ones in the past.

Letter BWhat you know someone else would do. BFF, Mate, Parent or someone else you respect would not go with your gut for love nor money; instead, their responses would be close to opposite yours. You have known them long enough to know while that answer would work for them, you could never live with the consequences.

You did not take your first answer as the immediate one. Do not take this answer as the right one either. You are looking into the future and assessing risks on something with too many variables.

Add your gut plus their answer. Just like adding the negative side of a magnet to the positive side of another, the flip side of one of your answers is getting closer to the right solution.

Letter XYour X factor is a blend of common sense, practicality, pragmatism, decorum and social equity. If those are words which are seldom, if ever, used about you, recruit. You can get the X factor from the people in your life who represent reason, not necessarily BFF, Mate or Parent. This order can be filled by a consultant, your boss, your spiritual advisor, your therapist, your attorney, your doctor or anyone else who could stand on the outside, look in and give you a reasonable opinion.


The best solutions always are a product of reason and the input of more than one person. Each one of us sees a problem with a slightly different perspective. From a different perspective, someone else can see faults, difficulties and consequences which just may be hidden from your perspective.

So, what?

What does this have to do with my mousy Assess/Prioritize? When contemplating solutions, I am a polemicist which would make any devil blush. I am the kind of person who the terms reasoned, pragmatic and practical are used to describe. Many question my ability to be decorous or equitable, yet when the dust settles, my solutions are far more equitable than initially perceived. Want to venture why?

I assess the possible solutions. I prioritize the most effective solutions. This means I decide what A and B really are. My gut is good, even though indigestion as been the monkey wrench in the clockwork on occasion. Often, I also supply B, since I have a wealth of history on which to rely. If I own a scintilla of doubt, I will seek an opinion to replace A or B.

What is my X factor? On second thought, that is a better question for you to answer.

Red Signature

What is my X factor?

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© Red Dwyer 2014
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¹”To a Mouse, On Turning Up in Her Nest with the Plough”, Burns, Robert, 1875. Subsequently published in Kilmarnock Volume

Leave a comment


  1. I went with my gut and took the chocolate.
    Binky recently posted..The Power of Wine GumsMy Profile

  2. You have this patient way of peeling layer by layer till you get to the heart of the matter.

    I used my gut a lot + experience but best of all, I made decision best when under fire, in the moment, at the height of danger (no time to waste). I don’t have many important decisions to make in the past few years. :/ At least not lately and none that come to mind.
    Tess recently posted..Beijing Part 5, Day 3 (cont’d and finished)My Profile

    • No time to overthink 🙂 I think most every decision is important. Inevitably, it all bears on how happy we are… right down to the perfect pair of shoes for an outfit. When we feel pretty, we are more confident, enjoy more. xxx

  3. 1. play the tape forward
    2. examine your motives

  4. Gray Dawster

     /  June 28, 2014

    If I cannot fathom the puzzle then I will ask the question and whoever comes up with the most sensible answer, the one most likely to succeed then that is the one that I will follow.

    Sometimes deciphering problems is pure gut instinct and that is acted upon straight away but there are no guarantees that the solution is the correct one, so I guess that all anyone can do is to try and try again.

    Living has its complexities and has many directions, stumbling blocks that can hinder the way ahead, but then who said that life was simple?

    Have a lovely weekend Red 🙂

    Andro xxxx

    • Seeking good advice is half the battle, Andro. 🙂 xxx Hope you are enjoying a lovely weekend.

  5. The tendency to ask others if I am crazy when I don’t trust my instincts is one I have always had. It isn’t so much that I don’t have instincts, it is simply that I have burned my hand so frequently on the hot stove.

    I don’t always take advice, it is more an issue of checking myself.
    Valentine Logar recently posted..ChooseMy Profile

    • Aye, but some of the things you think are crazy are merely human. Your trust should be growing. You are feeling your way away from the stove very well these days. <3

  6. Words suck. How to describe a wordless something using words?

    I believe the X factor (mine?) means listening to your true self who doesn’t deal with words then reason takes over to give voice. Imperfect but it seems to work. Thinking things to death has a way of backfiring.

    And some the pharmacology they pump into me makes me forget words in the middle of a sentence. That really sucks and sometimes it’s funny. Smile and have some of the good pharmacology (I have some of those too).
    John McDevitt recently posted..Back to the Horsepistol (again)My Profile

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