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Game Theory, Life Coaching, and Problem-Solving

Question: Is there one best way to solve a problem?

Answer: A normal part of living is dealing daily with problems. Without a doubt, the most effective way to deal with these challenges is through applied game thinking.

Before one can solve a problem it is essential that we understand what exactly a problem is? We often speak of problems but in reality, there is no single definition of what a problem is. Some definitions include:

  • Any situation which is unwelcome.
  • Any challenge that needs to be dealt with and overcome.
  • An inquiry into some question to which the answer is not obvious.
  • Some process we have chosen to engage in that is difficult to achieve or accomplish.

The most common words used to define a problem include; jigsaw puzzle, trouble, worry, hiccup, setback, catch, predicament, stumbling block, hitch, plight, misfortune, mishap, misadventure, snag, pest, drag, dilemma, quandary, headache, nightmare,  drawback, obstacle, hurdle, nuisance, bother, pest, irritant, thorn in one’s side/flesh, vexation, pain, riddle, difficult and pain in the neck.

The concept of “a problem” can be observed from a  number of perspectives. On a basic level, we can categorize a problem by;

  • The type of problem it is;
  • The cause of the problem;
  • The level of difficulty in solving the problem.

There is no one approach that is best for categorizing problems. Various problem-solving models will work best in specific situations. In addition, many categorizing systems have been supplanted by other models or overlap with them. Nevertheless, the underlying principles remain valid – a problem is an unwelcome situation that needs to be dealt with and overcome. One thing is clear; we cannot allow a negative attitude, an attachment to short term gratification, resignation or disillusionment to interfere with the process of solving a problem.

One of my mentors often said, “To be disillusioned you must first have illusions”.  Many problems arise because we project our own agendas and biases onto the agendas and biases of others with whom we feel a sense of rapport or connection. In the end, when we do this, we are often disappointed and problems rather than being solved are made worse.

Often what we perceive to be clarity of thought is nothing more than wishful thinking. In order to solve a problem with the least expenditure of energy, there are a number of things to keep in mind. To begin with, it is essential that one recognizes that without precision, focus and timing i.e. a system, one will struggle unnecessarily. In addition, most systems have their own critical times and resonances. The key to effectiveness in solving problems is to work with the natural timing or rhythm of a system rather than in opposition to it.

One of the basic rules of physics is that it takes more force to apply the same pressure to a wide area than to a smaller specific point.  This applies to problem-solving as well.  The more focus you have in defining a problem the less energy is needed to solve it. Here are some essential rules to keep in mind as you expand your game thinker, problem-solving skills.

  • Define the problem.
  • Develop good timing. What might not work with a particular person, place or time might work for another person, place or time? It is a valuable skill to know when a resource reaches its peak value, for when it does that is the time to apply use it.
  • Be Innovative: You must search for, think of or listen to an idea. Explore it, mull it over and then transform that idea into action.
  • Address the obvious first: It is always easier to pick the low hanging (obvious) fruit first. Sometimes there is no low hanging fruit. This may occur for any number of reasons. It may be too early.
  • Patience is required – at times, it may be worthwhile to allow this fruit to grow.  “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and small initial steps are easier to implement.

One basic way to define problems is by exploring their level of complexity. Doing this often enables us to access to the appropriate resources and skills needed to solve them. I generally define a problem as either:

  1. Basic (A Challenge),
  2. Complex (Obstacles),
  3. Extreme (Requiring a team of experts)

Understanding the difference between these distinctions can make all the difference in reducing unnecessary struggle in your life.



Learn how to win at the game of life through my book “How to Hack Your Life Through Game Thinking”




If you have an interest in having a basic understanding of Applied Game Theory (and you need to) here is an interview I did with James Selman, a pioneer and innovator in Leadership research.


Just click below to watch the entire interview.




Listen here as Lewis explain the RealUGuru Project and how we can give up unnecessary struggle through visionary thinking in this insightful interview with award winning journalist Phyllis Haynes about the RealUGuru Project


Winning The Game Of Life: A Primer On Lewis Harrison’s Applied Game Theory


Lewis Harrison is the director of the professional Coaching Training Program at the International Association of Healing Professionals


He is  founder of the RealUGuru Project Think Tank is a is a life coach, peak performance expert, writer, mentor, content-rich, motivational speaker, and an entrepreneur specializing in problem solving and strategizing  based on game thinking, applied game theory and Game Thinking.

He is the author of over twenty-two books published in five languages.


Don’t forget to tune to the RealUGuru Radio show every Thursday 4-6 PM EST at WIOX 91.3 FM or on your smart device at WIOXRadio.org.

WIOX is a diverse station that broadcasts original programming including presentation from NPR, the BBC, Democracy Now etc.

If you are interested in business success in the 21st Century in the arts or in any other endeavor you need to study with Lewis Harrison. Begin by reading  Lewis’ books.

If you are an entrepreneur you will want to begin with his books on game theory and business success.  Here are two basic ones to start with:



The offerings on RealUGuru.com focus on the application of applied game thinking, gamification, decision science, positive psychology, happiness,  and visionary thinking to solve basic, complex and extreme problems. He is the creator of a free course on business success and human potential.

Here is a short interview with Lewis;



This blog is sponsored by the New York City Chair Massage Company at  www.eventschairmassage.com, supplying stress management services to event and meeting planners for trade shows throughout the United States 

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