One of the biggest problems in communities - and in life - is how to deal with problems.
Problems are unmet needs that one wants to turn into met needs. The solution to a problem is therefore to find a strategy to meet one's need and to take action upon that solution.
Let's explore a scenario between two people and how it would ideally unfold:
That is how problems should be tackled. But this is not the most common scenario.
Because when people experience an unmet need, they experience certain personal tensions (feelings) which will change their states. And if they're not mindfully realizing this, they might let their change of state influence their behavior negatively - which will create interpersonal tensions in trying to find a solution.
Here is how most real-world scenario look like:
While John and Roberta can figure out a solution while John is yelling, what will most probably happen is that it will be harder for Roberta to engage with John. Moreover, John will not be in a state of listening when Roberta explains why she is playing music.
From here, two negative outcomes are possible:
This then creates an avalanche of triggers, frustrations and problems.
Because when trying to solve a problem, it is equally important to think about how to solve the need while also to notice how we are behaving while coming up to a solution.
It is harder to come to a solution if people are reactive and not listening.
It is harder to come to a solution if people see each other as threats.
It is harder to come to a solution if people are triggered and can't find the right words to express their need.
This is why changing people's states (for example from frustration to gratefulness) is often more efficient than discussing solutions per se.
By doing this, people will feel safe, will be able to express themselves with the right words and it will save time in finding the solution. On top of that, it will avoid the creation of a traumatic precedent - which would create a bitter memory and scare people to bring up their problems in the first place.
Personally, I've done this not only with communities, but in different types of relationships:
Ultimately, the process can be summarized in this simple equation:
SOLVING A TENSION = CHANGING THE STATE + FINDING A STRATEGY TO MEET THE NEED
Ultimately, this whole equation boils down to living life in alignment. As I thought of this weekend, alignment is a relationship between two elements that creates flow (or harmony). If needs are met, then the individual(s) are able to flourish.
It's about aligning needs with reality - solving the tensions to live in flow.
Being able to put words on this has been one of my biggest breakthroughs. I've not only been applying this approach to problem-solving as a friend, but also as a personal coach, as a community facilitator when living in coliving spaces and as a coliving consultant when creating systems to maintain these states.
In short, I can now confidently state that I help people and communities to live in flow and removing tensions by being in their best states and finding strategies to align needs with reality.
And now goes the question to you: how do you change and influence the states of your community?
If you don't have a community, you can also respond on how you change your personal state or the one of relationships with people who are close to you.
PS: If you answer stands out, I'd be happy to promote it to the wider community.
Have a lovely end of the week,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I'm Gui, a coliving operator, facilitator, and industry builder with one mission: to make coliving the best experience one can have.
I founded Art of Co, a global resource platform and consultancy to create transformative coliving spaces, wrote the 📘 Art of Coliving book , and am the director of Co-Liv, the global association of coliving professionals. Come engage with other passionate coliving builders in my 👉 Telegram community or join the 👉 Coliving Cocktail newsletter, where I send out recaps of everything that happens within the coliving world!
The Coliving Cocktail newsletter fills you twice a month with the latest updates from the coliving industry, major content pieces, upcoming industry events, and personal insights from our founder on how to improve your user experience.