Overcoming Challenges and Understanding Yourself
Lessons from Sigmund Freud and Jean Piaget help break down obstacles and see what motivates you.
I'm obsessed with Psychology and Philosophy. I recently finished a 40-hour binge of lectures in Jordan Peterson's 2017 Personality and Its Transformations (University of Toronto).
Here's what I found most helpful.
There is always something we're scared of, and that our minds are not ready to deal with, and there is always something we are trying to figure out.
Freud is the father of clinical psychology, from him we learned that talking helps. Plus we can understand and learn more about ourselves while helping them.
I've noticed myself getting stuck on problems that don't seem that hard at face value. It frustrates me even more that I'm stuck on something simple.
I search for the solution, but nothing feels right. After deep thought, it comes to me that I am displacing my frustrations from a different issue.
When I feel stuck now, I stop looking for solutions and try to understand the problems. My wife told me today I reminded her of a parakeet talking to himself in front of a mirror. 🤣🤷♂️
Once you understand the problems it's much easier to separate issues and deal with them one by one.
The Mind is Sophisticated
Hearing Piaget's understanding of human development was life-changing for me. My write-up is below.
It explained why maturing is difficult. Knowledge structures become more and more complex and thoughts that were once extremely important don't matter anymore.
That process of re-organizing has been rough on me.
For so long, I was self-conscious because I couldn't explain my thoughts. I didn't understand my entrepreneurial passion at all. I just knew it was part of me.
If you notice something in your actions you want to understand, get creative. Think about your creation until you can explain it. Once you can articulate it, you comprehend it.
Consciousness - Managing Thoughts
For this example, consciousness is how the mind perceives and processes our world, people, and situations around us.
Freud, a psychoanalyst, viewed consciousness as a single entity made up of thoughts and representations of those thoughts.
In this theory, our actions, beliefs, and choices are influenced by how our mind chooses to represent our thoughts to us. Lower or higher levels of the brain would act in our best interest to create a healthy equilibrium.
Thoughts would fit into these three categories.
- Conscious: Everything we are aware of and what we know about ourselves and our surroundings.
- Preconscious: Unconscious at the particular moment, but not repressed, and are available for recall and easily capable of becoming conscious
- Unconscious: Outside of conscious awareness, including memories, thoughts, and urges of which we are unaware.
Piaget, a constructivist and developmental psychologist, saw consciousness as a process. Namely a process that we are responsible for maintaining.
Piaget suggested that children sort knowledge they acquire through experiences and interactions into groupings known as schemas.
When new information is acquired, it can either be assimilated into existing schemas or accommodated through revising or creating an entirely new category.
As we grow into adulthood, our schemas and knowledge become more complicated. It becomes harder to articulate our thoughts and opinions.
Since these thoughts are meaningful, our mind attempts to bring them into existence via articulated speech.
Piaget's consciousness process
- Spoken: Fully understood and abstracted thought, able to explain in a way people close to you will comprehend.
- Dreams: Your mind attempts to display your thoughts so you can examine them and understand them more fully. Not just while you're asleep, creative outlets also fall into this category.
- Actions: Thoughts that guide your material actions without your conscious knowledge.
Our minds are beautiful and have no equal on Earth. Take care of yourself.