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All your problems are just two problems

Needed qualifications

As with almost all short and pithy statements, a more qualified explanation is often needed to be accurately understood (if, indeed the original statement had any truth to it).


By "All your problems are just two problems," I mean "All your internal problems, those problems which cause you suffering, can be understood in terms of two types of internal conflicts."

The protagonists

Every issue, every problem, every conflict lives inside one or both of two fundamental balances:


Me or you


now or later.

Me or you (see Common Oneself-Others conflicts)

I challenge you to find any issue or problem that is not fundamentally based in a perceived conflict between me and you or between now and later.


For the most part, in the me or you conflict, you gets almost all the good PR.


The ideals of altruism, unselfishness, giving, charity, thinking of others first, duty, obligation, loyalty,

sacrifice, giving to your country, and so on are ingrained deep within the hearts (whether acted upon or rebelled against) of every human within every culture on the face of this earth.


The evils of greed, selfishness, egoism, conceit, personal desire, and so on are branded upon the souls

(whether avoided or indulged) of every human within every culture on the face of this earth.


For the most part, in the conflict between now and later, later gets almost all the good PR.

Now or later (see Common Now-Next conflicts)


The ideals of perseverance, self-discipline, goal-setting, eating a healthy diet, waiting for your reward in heaven, avoiding your punishment in hell, not procrastinating,  getting organized, keeping things neat, working hard, persistence, planning and saving for the future, and so on are what every “good” person is made of.

We have been taught these ideals by countless sources—from the "The Little Engine That Could" to Christianity to Nike ads.


The evils of self-indulgence, gluttony, drugs, alcohol, smoking, sex, passion, laziness, lack of self-discipline, anger, in general, anything that focuses on pleasure now (or reducing pain now) have most often been demonized, if not criminalized.

All conflicts of suffering, first within ourselves and then with others...


The sad history of our world has been defined by wars—within ourselves, within our families, between friends and neighbors, within and between businesses, between philosophies and religions, and between nations—that have been the direct expressions of the perceived conflicts between you and me and between now and later.

Finding the way (see the OOI toolkit and the NNI toolkit)


It is time to build a new alliance, a new friendship, new structures, new viewpoints and paradigms, where you and me both win, where now and later can both be served. 


The next time you encounter a perceived conflict between you and me or between now and later, explore how making the choice of courage may offer you the opportunity for both (or all four) to win.



"I conceive that pleasures are to be avoided if greater pains be the consequence, and pains to be coveted that will terminate in greater pleasures."

—Michel Eyquem De Montaigne (1533-1592, French philosopher, essayist)


"We’ve been warned about not trying to fool Mother Nature.  But I say that most progress has come from doing a good job of fooling Mother Nature so that she gives us the benefits of what we want without a lot of the previously associated costs."

—Dwight GoldWinde


"Remember, anything you want that’s valuable requires that you break through some short-term pain in order to gain long-term pleasure."

—Anthony Robbins in Awaken the Giant Within

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