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Pig Wrestling

Updated: Aug 6, 2020

Stuck in a rut? Given up trying? Tried every possible solution and nothing's worked? Pig Wrestling, a fable by Pete Lindsay and Mark Bawden, has THE answer. Not only do the approaches covered help you re-consider your mindset and thinking towards problems, it is written based on how our brain works, optimising the amount of the information we take away from it. A win, win!

What techniques do the authors use to do this?

- The method of Loci is a memory journey (or mind palace as Sherlock Holmes calls it!) The fable uses vivid imagery and distinctive objects to help us recall each step of "pig wrestling"

problem solving.

- The fable follows the primary character's journey to learning the "pig wrestling" process so we are learning as he is. As each section of the process is covered the characters summarise what's been said, written in bullet points. This increases the amount of times we interact and hear the information, giving us a better chance of remembering it.

Funnily enough these are memory techniques covered and used by the Make Your Mind Up approach and app! We believe if we understand how our brain works best we can optimise our focus retention of information.

So, the elephant in the room....or should I say pig in the mud pool! What on earth is Pig Wrestling?

Pig Wrestling: A step by step process to objectively assessing our approach to problem solving, or problem cleaning as the authors put it. The pig is our problem... or what we think our problem is! Often we wrestle around with a fixed view of our problems in our head and don't get anywhere near to solving them. This is us wrestling the pig in a muddy pool and as George Bernard Shaw said

" I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig.

You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it."

We say we've tried everything but we haven't otherwise the problem would be solved. Here is my "in a nutshell" summary of the pig wrestling process and how we can apply it to our own lives.

Grab a copy of Pig Wrestling here.


Take a step back and take your foot off the wrestling ring fence. Analyse whether this is your problem to solve, whether you've seen the truth of the situation on the ground and whether this is something you should be doing right now.


We're very good at framing situations and people. If someone does something once, we label them as a this type of person. Every time they do something we're looking for reasons to frame them as this type again. Take the frame off the pig's neck!

Grab a copy of Pig Wrestling here.


Think Cleanly. What assumptions and preconceptions are we placing on our problem? Clean the mud off and take the time to describe the situation in behavioural and factual terms. Here, you have an objective look at the problem showing the truth.


What have I tried so far to fix the problem? Are our attempts to fix it actually fuelling the problem. Hanoi had a rat infestation, the government created a cash for rat initiative to the citizens. Upon showing evidence of rats destroyed, they would be rewarded a cash payment. The number of rats went up.... some people started breeding rats to get more money! Hanoi were fuelling their problem!

Grab a copy of Pig Wrestling here.


Look into your crystal ball into the future when the problem is solved. How would I know this is no longer a problem? By taking time to determine and define what a solution looks like we can focus on getting there.


When Is this problem not a problem? We're very good at noticing the negative... see our negativity bias video for more on this one! With our problems, they may not happen all the time but it seems like it because it's all we focus on. Take time to consider the times the problem is not present. What does this situation look like?

Grab a copy of Pig Wrestling here.


Now consider what has to be present for the problem to occur. This isn't just people but context. Look at all the how, what, why, where, whens.


Spend time comparing the golden nuggets and the bungee cords. What is similar and what's different between these situations. This immediately tells us where the cause/s of our problem lies.


If we view problems as the result of overdone strengths, creating change becomes less about fixing deficits and more about redirecting energy.

Grab a copy of Pig Wrestling here.


Our brain is very good at catastrophising and even making things up! This is summed up perfectly in this quote from Winston Churchill. So these pig problems of ours...certainly aren't pets! Treat them like a hungry tiger and stay clear!

We can help ourselves out here and practice mindfulness by actively focusing on now. Not the past problems our brain likes to add to the mix as well. Try our mindfulness exercises here.

Who Is This Book For?

Anyone who has ever had or is struggling to overcome a problem. Let's face it, that's all of us! Even if you think you have good methods for overcoming problems, read this. It will take you an hour and will save you hours of chasing your piggy tail with the next problem you face.

Why A Book Review? 

I use the key findings from evidence based thought leadership and psychologies to create the mindset and mental wellbeing content for Make Your Mind Up. Soon we're going to be launching our new Pocket Mentor app.

The best way to test your understanding of a topic is to use the information and then help others understand it too. Creating book reviews help me process what I’ve read and increase the amount of times I’m interacting with the information, so the better I (should!) remember it. 


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