The One Answer to All Our Problems

Potash Road, Near Moab, Utah by Ken Lund, on Flickr
The end of the road is around the NEXT bend. For sure.

Original Photo © Ken Lund, kenlund on Flickr.
CC BY-SA 2.0

I want the answer.

The one, single answer which will solve all my problems.

I just need one last insight, and everything will click into place and make sense.

It must exist.

Occasionally somebody else has the one answer. They advertise it.

I need to learn it from them.

Sometimes I read the one answer in a book. It sinks into gaps in my brain like sand filling space around stones.

I’ve always known it to be true.

Sometimes I realise the one answer myself. I laugh.

Of course.

It was within me all along.

Each one answer fits… for a while.

I slot the final piece into place and complete the puzzle. At last, I can see everything.

But – selfishly – my problems scorn this clear and obvious truth. They don’t appear to realise I’ve discovered the one answer which solves them all.

Sometimes when this happens I push my problems down deeply within, clinging desperately to my one answer.

It must be true. It must be enough.

Other times, I let go without a fight.

I need a new one answer.

No false answer has yet shaken my faith. The one answer must exist.

I change my diet; I change my routine; I think positive thoughts; I convert my religion; I fix my relationship; I rebuild my environment; I meditate; I alter my beliefs; I love myself.

None of those were the one answer.

You might wonder – did those false answers not help? Did none of them bring any improvement?

And, if I noticed, I might say that yes, they did. Each made a contribution. Each helped.

But do not distract me from my search.

I don’t want many hard answers. I want any easy answer.

I’ll find the one answer yet.


No epistemic strawmen were harmed in the production of this post.

Don’t forget to watch my TED talk, if you haven’t already!

Or check out the Book for Anxious Humans, which explores anxiety and happiness through embarrassing real-life stories, fantasy fiction, thought-provoking discussion and terribly-drawn doodles.

Like us on Facebook, for more thoughts on happiness.

Read the whole series on Anxiety here.

3 thoughts on “The One Answer to All Our Problems

  1. Nice 🙂 Let’s say you find it, then what? Do trees ever reach the Sun? The search IS the answer, Neil.

  2. Exactly! I’m glad the point comes across 🙂 This kind of searching is just another custard trap…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *