“No problem is insurmountable. With a little courage, teamwork and determination a person can overcome anything.” Unknown
It started with a little meatball. A pork meatball flavoured with sage and parmesan, to be exact. Just one little meatball on a plate. So small, so tasty … so unwanted. Who knew that this meatball would form the basis of a new scientific philosophical psychological school of thought?
Both Bear and Music Man share similar natures. They are both easy-going, low-key young men; they have what some describe as a phlegmatic temperament. They’re pretty chilled, friendly and affectionate, can tend towards the lazy side … they are who they are. They also have a deeply stubborn side that brings on the Meatball Effect. For Music Man, the Meatball Effect is food-related; he loves junk food, simple food, nothing adventurous … but give him a meatball and he won’t budge. Bear’s Meatball Effect comes out when asked to do something he doesn’t really feel like doing, like school. Or extra hours at his fast food job. Things he finds boring. Give him a job or course that he loves and he’s chilled; put him in a classroom to discuss literature and he’s facing off the Meatball.
Everyone has a Meatball. Your Meatball and my Meatball might be very different. We might look at another’s Meatball and think, “Come on, eat it! It’s not that hard. In fact, it tastes great!” And they’re thinking, “I swear I’m going to stick that Meatball where the sun don’t shine if you say that one more time!” The trouble with thinking our way is the only way is that we’re letting the power of the Meatball block our ears from the real problem, as well as alternate solutions to the problem. That’s what the Meatball Effect does. Are we focusing too much on the Meatball, or on what the person is really trying to say?
With Music Man, we have learnt over time to let him choose when he will and won’t try something new. Mealtimes are much happier now that we have recognised that his Meatball is not just a meatball, but a desire to eat simply and take things at his own pace. Likewise, with Bear, we worked hard to listen to his fears and frustrations, most of which stemmed from not having any clear direction; we learnt that he was as upset about his difficulty with his Meatball as we were. He finished school, by the way, and will be starting a new two-year degree course next month in an area that really interests him.
Some people might be able to deal with their Meatball by pretending it’s something else, or by breaking the Meatball into bite-size chunks. Others may beat their Meatball with willpower, encouragement, or professional help. Their way may not be our way, and vice versa. There’s some food for thought for you.
So, what’s your Meatball? Is it smoking, meeting new people, work, study, cleaning the toilet, getting rid of the HUGE spider in the house, or eating? What’s the one thing that you really struggle with, yet other people seem to have no problem with? Is the Meatball Effect clouding your view? Theirs?