What An LSD Trip Taught Me About Problem Solving

When I was a teenager some friends and I experimented with LSD.

When you’re a small town boy, bored out of your mind and your buddy offers you the opportunity to interact with the fabric of the Universe, you take it.

So we tried it. And then we tried it again… and again. We played with the stuff regularly for a period of about 6–12 months.

During one particularly heavy trip we were standing at opposite ends of a hallway, staring at each other. This went on for several minutes (or was it hours? or weeks?). At one point I noticed that I was no longer looking at him, I was looking at me, through his eyes.

Afterwards, we both shared the same story – and to this day I’m sure that for a moment our minds or souls or somethingswitched places.

Flash forward several years.

Many years later I was watching Celebrity Rehab, a reality show starring Dr. Drew Pinsky. On the show, celebrities check into rehab and go through drug and alcohol treatment live on camera.

In one episode Dr. Drew is dealing with a particularly insane patient (a well-known actor) who is having an anxiety attack or meltdown of some kind.

Instead of telling his patient to calm down, (which would only make matters worse ) Dr. Drew said this (I paraphrase)

Dr. Drew:You’re an actor right?
Actor:
“Yes”
Dr. Drew: “Ok, then I want you to act like you’re a normal person right now”
Actor: “What?”
Dr. Drew: “Using your acting abilities, I want you to act like a character who is sane”

Almost immediately the panicked actor calmed down and started talking through his issues. Dr. Drew had helped his patient temporarily become someone else, a sane person, who could better deal with the problem.

It is one of the most masterful Jedi Mind Tricks I have ever seen in my life.

Present Day

These days I’m involved in a lot of different things. I do online marketing, work out religiously, write music and share ideas on my blog. Each one of these areas of my life comes with a unique set of problems.

  • Which traffic sources and offers should I focus on?
  • Which workout routine should I use?
  • What should the chorus of this song be?
  • What should my next blog post be about?

There are times when I can’t deal with a problem, or can’t decide what to do next. One of the ways I get past these roadblocks is by using a combination of my LSD experience and Dr. Drew’s tactic on myself.

When I can’t figure something out I take a moment and “become someone” who can.

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My goal today is to share this technique with you so that you can use it if you feel like you’re unable to make a decision or accomplish a goal.

The process is very simple and doesn’t require Dr. Drew or LSD. All it takes is a few minutes and a little imagination.

Here’s what I do when I feel stuck:

  • I stop what I’m doing
  • I close my eyes
  • When I open my eyes, I imagine I am someone else
  • I look at the problem through their eyes
  • I solve it the way they would solve it

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “step into someone else’s shoes”. Well, this is exactly what you do. If you can’t solve a problem, step into the shoes of someone who can.

Here are a few examples of how you can use it:

  1. Affiliate Marketing: The next time you’re stuck on a new campaign, imagine you’re Charles Ngo. He’s documented his entire launch sequence on his website. He’s got systems on top of systems. What would he do first?
  2. Campaign Angles: Before you write you next headline and copy for an ad, switch minds with Don Draper. Would he kick his feet up on the desk? How badass would his angle be? (Ok I know Don Draper is a fictional character but it still works)
  3. Working Out: If you’re at the gym and can’t get motivated to lift weight, put on your C.T. Fletcher shoes. What does C.T.’s energy feel like? Would he skip going to the gym today? How intense would he be?
  4. Writing a Song: Can’t think of an idea for the chorus of your new song? Step into the mind of John Lennon. What would he do now? What word would he write next?
  5. Life Problems: When life gets you down, turn yourself into Tony Robbins. Stand up and do whatever you think he would do next. My guess is he would not get back in bed,  he’d probably start doing jumping jacks and yelling “I CAN DO THIS!”.

Choose Your Own Adventure

If the people I’ve listed above don’t work for you, choose someone who does. This is totally a choose your own adventure kind of idea. Use whoever you think could handle the problem you’re having trouble with.

Example thought script: I’m having a hard time with ___________. But _______________ could do it, so what would he/she do next?

You can use public figures, actors, musicians, a friend, or your mom. “Step into the shoes” of the person that can get the job done and then… get the job done.

It helps if you really let yourself get into it and let yourself slip into the mindset of someone else. Feel the way they would feel in their skin. Imagine you’re literally looking out at the world through their eyes.

Conclusion

You don’t have to have an LSD-induced out of body experience to get the benefits of looking at your problem through someone else’s eyes.

If you find yourself unable to handle a certain situation, “step into the shoes” of  someone who can. Then do whatever they would do next.

“Stepping into shoes” helps you access parts of your mind that was previously unreachable. It allows you to solve problems that you thought were sunsolvable. It allows you to see things from a different perspective and come up with ideas you may have never thought of.

It’s fast, free and fun… (and no flashbacks)

Give it a try today:

  1. Pick something you’re currently struggling with
  2. Think of someone else who could solve the problem
  3. Step into their shoes and do whatever they would do next