"Prize that which is best in the universe; and this is that which useth everything and odereth everything."
Marcus Aurelius
"It is a world of startling possibilities." "Golden hours of vision come to us in this present life, when we are at our best and our faculties work together in harmony."
Charles Fletcher Dole
"The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are."
Joseph Campbell

On any given night, turn on a network news program. Then change the channel to another major network news program. Do it again. What do they all have in common? The types of stories they present—especially early in the broadcast: Bad news; victims of disaster, murder, fire and theft.
How could you have completed your evening and gone to bed without having experienced that which they call, "news?"
The fact is, to many people, this sort of exposure is virtually addictive— it’s called, "staying informed." They may consider it a way of expanding their horizons—the "landscape of their experience", so-to-speak. Or is it? Surely they do so within a very limited framework: the land of the problem state.
Our society cultivates, and then nourishes the problem state. Children are taught from an early age to do what is "right" to avoid being "wrong." They brush their teeth so that they don’t get cavities, they go to bed on time so that they don’t lose a privilege such as t.v., homework is completed so, among other things, parents don’t have to hear it from their teachers; and people stay informed by watching the "news", so they don’t appear ignorant!
Education, law, religion and other of our institutions are also built upon this framework. They are organized around "going wrong." For example, how many letters do parents receive from their children’s teachers informing them of outstanding behavior through time? When was the last time a police officer pulled you over and said, "Gee, I just want to compliment you on that smooth right turn you just made"? And how many of the Ten Commandments inform you what you actually should do?
Does this seem absurd? That’s the reaction of many parents who have become overwhelmed and stuck regarding child discipline. They might begin by stating some inappropriate behavior displayed by a child, what negative consequences were imposed, how those didn’t "work" and the feelings of frustration that resulted. When suggesting they notice for things that are working-- that is, the behavior they do want from their child-- and provide consequences that are positive, it is not uncommon to hear them utter the word, "bribery."
From these many seeds spring the roots of limitation: the problem state. This is a way of organizing experiences where the primary concern is overcoming adversity. It frequently involves sorting for what is not happening, or is happening that should not be. And it becomes the stumbling block that prevents going forward in some useful way; the scapegoat for procrastination. The problem state often manifests with an external frame of reference. That is, those things, people, events outside a particular individual are assigned causality for the condition or predicament of that individual. If only life would have cooperated with me, I wouldn’t have gone "wrong", and needed help getting "right."
When operating from the problem state, the assumption often made is that someone is "broken" and needs to be "fixed." Accordingly, any communication with that individual is in relation to repairing damage— not necessarily achieving something desired or beneficial in some stated fashion!
People often talk about what they want in terms of what they don’t want. For example, "I want to stop feeling guilty." Or, adding in that external frame of reference: "I want you to stop making me feel guilty." Obviously, besides the issue of causality, the problem is that overcoming "the problem" is not synonymous with having the experience of what it is you really want—something that would be useful or of value to you as a Human Being. This is true for a few reasons:

· When operating within the "problem state", it often becomes difficult to formulate, clearly, a desired outcome that is absent the problem being described. It’s like trying to remove a sticky substance stuck to your left hand with your right; now it’s stuck to your right.
Imagine, for the moment, you are responsible to deliver a presentation to a group of people, but you suffer from intense fear of public speaking. If what is offered as remediation is organized from this problem state, any changes that occur will be in relation to that "fear." That is, "therapy" or the idea of behaving differently in that context will be in comparison to the state in which fearful behaviors occur. This, in contrast with a positive approach in which you learn to organize yourself to a position in which the problem (fear of public speaking) does not exist! Accordingly, there would be a much greater range of possible choices of behavior available in the context of public speaking, that would show up both somatically (within the body) and semantically (in terms of thoughts and actions).

· When the concern is what is not working, a person will often act from a defensive posture, justifying (to himself and others) why something is not happening, and why he can not do what is intended
Limiting oneself in this manner makes moving forward toward a
desired outcome or state difficult.
When a mother asks, "Billy, why didn’t you clean your room?" what she will get is likely not the desired response. Often, instead, she will get a defensive response—maybe a tantrum-- which can trigger a confrontation about "respect", far removed from the original intent of mother’s question. For what she really wants to know is what needs to occur so that cleaning his room will occur. As another example, a therapist who explores in depth the etiology of a client’s anxiety or depression— his family history, the various times in his life when things did not work for him; "why" he feels various people in his life prevent him from achieving success—may generate defensive responses that inadvertently lead the client further into this inhibitory state (in fact, some therapeutic approaches have a term for it: Resistance). He then has a deeper hole from which he has to escape first— understanding, and then overcoming his past mistakes— before learning to behave differently in some way. And then that new behavior will still be in relation to the inhibitory state.

· Interestingly, although someone organized to a problem state may assume a "defensive posture", the idea of posture is often ignored. Interventions in relation to the problem state primarily occurs at the level of cognition (i.e., figuring out "why" something happened, how to overcome it, etc.) or emotion (i.e., trying to understand or change one’s feelings about something that has occurred), with little consideration for the "somatic" (body) configuration. Yet, this is where experience first manifests!
There is considerable evidence from the work of Moshe Feldenkrais and Thomas Hanna regarding "somatics" or the relationship of the neuromuscular system to behavior; and that of Dr. Joseph Riggio, architect and developer of the Mythoself™ Process, a model for understanding one’s identity-- who he knows himself to be in relation to the position he holds (somatically and semantically), through time as his life unfolds; that the mind and body function as a singular unit. That is, every experience is first manifested in the neurology of the body in the form of postural shifts, eye movements, muscle reflexes, breathing changes and so forth; followed by components that are represented through emotion and thought, respectively. Understanding this concept is crucial when it comes to guiding someone in growth and development because it provides a way to calibrate and reinforce positive change where it occurs first, and contains the greatest variability in choices for responding: the body.
The limitations inherent in beginning from "limitation" or the problem state as a framework for change are apparent. In contrast, what would it be like to begin from and utilize an exclusively positive template for this purpose? Someone once said, "If it ain’t broke…don’t fix it." Rather than assuming the posture of the problem state when seeking to maximize performance, beginning from a positive frame, one in which you sort for what is working and what you would like to be true of you, is more resourceful for many reasons:

· From a purely positive frame, there is no consideration of the "problem state" as being in any way related to where you are going with an idea or desire! Your movements are solely in terms of possibility. What makes this more useful is that from this position, the experiential blueprint from which you operate is now expanded to include the range of accumulated learning and experience that has occurred throughout a person’s lifetime absent the restrictions that are inherent in the ‘problem state.’ This expanded blueprint can be a resource for generating new, desired behaviors…
· … and many more of them! Operating from a positive frame where anything is possible allows for more choices and therefore flexibility in one’s behavior. This in contrast with beginning from a problem state, in which all interventions orient around "overcoming" that; not around what else could be true!
· Organizing to a state of possibility allows someone to effectively design his future… now! As described by Joseph Riggio, utilizing the principles of the Mythoself™ Process, you can learn to establish an experiential realization—first within your body—of what you will be like when you are living the life of your choice. And this experience can be even further elucidated by considering what else will be "true" of you when you are there. That is, what kinds of events, things, and relationships will show up in your life when you are living that way?
· This in contrast with the "problem state", which is focused on the past; where the emphasis is on identifying what went "wrong" back then so as to avoid that from happening again in the future. The problem state limits the scope of what is considered to only the events from the past and their contexts. And progress is a function of "moving away from" that past unpleasantness in the future, as opposed to beginning from a purely positive frame and creating a future of your choice, then importing that to the present.
Beginning from a positive framework, then— a state of possibility— allows for movement toward something that is desired. Something that is most "right" and that isn’t a consequence of first being "wrong" but rather, resides where "wrong" does not.