Problems. Life does seem to generate rather a lot of them. And without exception we are all called to overcome and to problem solve. And so long as we aren’t paralyzed and overwhelmed by fear – we do. But to effectively and powerfully problem solve? Could there be a key to that? I think that maybe (just maybe) there is.
The driving force that enables us to function
According to research, we all have an in-built driving force that enables us to function under extreme pressure and to soar to our greatest heights. And every person has a creative instinct to problem solve. It’s something that goes beyond our intelligence and our personality type. Something that goes beyond gender, age or race. And it’s name? It’s called: conation.
Our instinctive ability to do
Conation is our instinctive ability to action something. It is wired so deeply within us that it is often sub-conscious and goes beyond what we think or feel. Instead, it encapsulates what we would instinctively do or not do. It drives us to act. It enables us to create stability and empowers us to initiate change. And it saves us from feeling powerless and from being unintentionally swept away by our circumstances. We all have a unique mode of operation – our modus operandi (M.O.) – that powers our mental energy. Could understanding the way we are wired to action things be the key to problem solving creatively, effectively, inexhaustibly and powerfully? You know – I think it might just be.
Hidden in plain sight
But despite being hard-coded within us, we can lose sight of our natural conative ability. It can get hidden and buried when we train ourselves to function in other – forever foreign – ways. It can get masked by what we end up doing rather than what we were made to do. And at worse, it can get warped and misshapen by our expectations and conditioning. We can even work against it. Our conative tendencies can be hidden in plain sight. And except from the most perceptive of us – who will have an inkling from pure observation – for the rest of us rediscovering our conation tendencies can be no mean feat.
When we are under pressure, our tendencies do differ. And the keys that work for me will not necessarily be the keys that work for you. Want to reduce excess stress? To make the most of your energy and time? Want to discover that you make sense? And to live life without battling against the mold which just isn’t you? I have done many tests and questionnaires, but I have discovered a most brilliant one that has helped me to uncover my conation with uncanny clarity. And the result? Greater confidence and liberation. And the test? It’s the Kolbe test – named after Kathy Kolbe who pioneered it.
The Kolbe Test
Although our conative tendencies are subconscious – they are quantifiable and predictable. Collated through the way we gather information, the way we organise information, the way we create stability or change, and the way we work with the abstract and the tangible – our modus operandi (M.O.) won’t depend on our situation, personality or intellect. And our Kolbe strength (or Kolbe score) highlights which of 12 problem solving methods we can’t help but excel at.
Although the test can be tailored to help with careers, finances, relationships – I’ve only explored the Kolbe-A-Index. It’s an online test and it is a paid for test. But don’t let that scare you or put you off. It costs around £40 when converted from US $49.95 – but it’s worth every penny. And who knows, it might save you from more than just stress in the future. After all, the biggest asset under your stewardship and in all that you will ever do and get paid for – is you.
Bigger than our individual lives
The implications of knowing our conative tendencies are far bigger than our individual lives too. Conative insight can guide us when we need to decide who to work with and it can give us confidence regarding what we can offer the world. Teams organised according to their conative instincts can have the greatest chance of synergy and success, since by intentionally combining our diversified intuition and action, no problem ought to ever be insurmountable.
I like a quote I heard Kris Vallotton once say, when he defined our weaknesses as “our strengths over-emphasised”. Understanding conation can help us understand why some people are always late to meetings, why some people have messy desks, why some people tend to break things more often, why some people might seem slow to risk, why some people are so daring – and to marvel at the flip side – their strength revealed.
Into me you see
So, intrigued to know what I’d instinctively do when under pressure or when facing a challenging? Here’s my Kolbe Test score: 4-4-9-2. I admit does look cryptic at first – but it does pretty much sum up how I work when I’m in my element and when I’m not. With it I can understand why I do the things I do, and why there are some things I ought not to do too much of (for everybody’s sake!)
Although I could probably write forever on what the different results mean, if you end up taking the test after reading this, you’ll know. And if you do take the test do post your results below – it would be so fun to discover what your keys to problem-solving are.
Don’t be deceived into thinking that the aim is to get a high score – because it’s not. Our keys, whatever they are, enable us to triumph over our problems and navigate through our challenges with minimal stress and fatigue. You are irreplaceable and indispensable. Only 5% of the population will have the same conative flair as you. So, you have permission to do like only you can. And so, your mission – should you choose to accept it – is to discover and reveal the problem-solving keys that are instinctive to you.
NB. For a bit more context do check out my previous blog entitled When we forget who we are – the first part of a three part series (with the final part coming in the near future).
Photography: Source pixabay.com
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