There’s a Solution for every Problem

photo by derekbruff

That’s a pretty bold statement for me to make, I know. I’ll qualify that by saying that sometimes the solution is tougher than the original problem, so isn’t viable.

When someone says, “There’s no way to do that,” my ears perk up. It’s like throwing down a gauntlet and I immediately want to prove them wrong. It’s the ultimate challenge to my intelligence.

Sometimes I discover that there is no way to do it… that makes sense, is reasonable and viable. But at least I know and I learned something.

In my past corporate career, I attended days and days of training in problem solving – different philosophies, different techniques. I’ve even written and delivered my own problem solving workshops. As a society, we’ve been conditioned to embrace problem solving as a key skill. We identify a problem and then we initiate a flurry of activity to try to solve it.

When we compile our lists of alternatives, there’s often a key choice that’s left off: the option to do nothing. Oh yes, it too has consequences.

I’m not suggesting that we all adopt a ‘do nothing’ strategy to deal with all of our problems. I’m saying that it’s an option that we often miss among the noise of other alternatives and our urge to ‘do something’.

Sometimes the solution is to do nothing… and to be confident that is the best choice.


originally published in Work Better, Not Harder October 9, 2013