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Category: Uncategorized
Source: As A Matter Of Course

THERE are very few persons who have not I had the experience of
giving up a problem in mathematics late in the evening, and waking
in the morning with the solution clear in their minds. That has been
the experience of many, too, in real-life problems. If it were more
common, a great amount of nervous strain might be saved.

There are big problems and little, real and imaginary; and some that
are merely tired nerves. In problems, the useless nervous element
often plays a large part. If the "problems" were dropped out of mind
with sufferers from nervous prostration, their progress towards
renewed health might be just twice as rapid. If they were met
normally, many nervous men and women might be entirely saved from
even a bowing acquaintance with nervous prostration. It is not a
difficult matter, that of meeting a problem normally,--simply let
it solve itself. In nine cases out of ten, if we leave it alone and
live as if it were not, it will solve itself. It is at first a
matter of continual surprise to see how surely this self-solution is
the result of a wholesome ignoring both of little problems and big

In the tenth case, where the problem must be faced at once, to face
it and decide to the best of our ability is, of course, the only
thing to do. But having decided, be sure that it ceases to be a
problem. If we have made a mistake, it is simply a circumstance to
guide us for similar problems to come.

All this is obvious; we know it, and have probably said it to
ourselves dozens of times. If we are sufferers from nervous
problems, we may have said it dozens upon dozens of times. The
trouble is that we have said it and not acted upon it. When a
problem will persist in worrying us, in pulling and dragging upon
our nerves, an invitation to continue the worrying until it has
worked itself out is a great help towards its solution or

I remember once hearing a bright woman say that when there was
anything difficult to decide in her life she stepped aside and let
the opposing elements fight it out within her. Presumably she
herself threw in a little help on one side or the other which really
decided the battle. But the help was given from a clear standpoint,
not from a brain entirely befogged in the thick of the fight

Whatever form problems may take, however important they may seem,
when they attack tired nerves they must be let alone. A good way is
to go out into the open air and so identify one's self with Nature
that one is drawn away in spite of one's self. A big wind will
sometimes blow a brain clear of nervous problems in a very little
while if we let it have its will. Another way out is to interest
one's self in some game or other amusement, or to get a healthy
interest in other people's affairs, and help where we can.

Each individual can find his own favorite escape. Of course we
should never shirk a problem that must be decided, but let us always
wait a reasonable time for it to decide itself first. The solving
that is done for us is invariably better and clearer than any we
could do for ourselves.

It will be curious, too, to see how many apparently serious
problems, relieved of the importance given them by a strained
nervous system, are recognized to be nothing at all. They fairly
dissolve themselves and disappear.

Previous: Sentiment _versus_ Sentimentality

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