Your Problem May Seem Impossible to Solve – Until Someone Else Tries to Solve It!
Here is the problem with problems. We all see them differently. What seems insurmountable to some is easy peasy to others. Problems, like everything else, are in the eye, or experience of the beholder. Sometimes we are too close even to know the true nature of a problem. We see the symptoms and assume the solution is whatever will assuage the discomfort. Someone not as directly related to the issue can see a host of possibilities, especially if they don’t look too hard.
What is a Problem?
Now that seems like an ignorant question, right? I mean seriously. Who doesn’t have first-hand knowledge of problems? I think we can all agree; we know what a problem is.
Or do we?
And that is the problem with problems; they are relative. What one perceives as critical may be trivial to another and not qualify as a problem at all.
The Dictionary Point of View
Just on the crazy off chance that you don’t know what constitutes a real problem, let’s go to the indisputable source, which we all know must be the dictionary. They can’t be wrong, right?
Mirriam Webster says:
- A problem is a question for inquiry, consideration, or solution.
- Source of perplexity, distress, or vexation
- difficulty in understanding or accepting
- a proposition in mathematics or physics stating something to be done. (that conjures up some disturbing memories!)
The Important Question – What is a Problem To You? What is Your Problem?
You may be a college student barely scraping by to pay tuition, pay rent, and buy this week’s portion of pretzels and soup for the food shelf.
Others have had a similar seating problem.
The problem got solved by focusing not on what was missing but asking the right question.
Is it the couch collapse that is the focus of my problem, or merely ample seating for my friends.
Ample seating it is!
Not Everything That Quacks is a Duck
For 50 years, oceanic researchers in the antarctic ocean had a problem. They were stumped. Acoustic equipment had identified what came to be known as the bio-duck, an unknown source of interesting sounds underwater.
Their problem was their inability to identify the source. It took five decades. Now we know what the whales knew all along. It was the Minke Whale!
THIS IS A KEY TO PROBLEM SOLVING. IT SOUNDS LIKE A DUCK. THE SOUND IS COMING FROM THE WATER. So if it sounds like a duck and quacks like a duck and it lives in water – it must, be a duck, right? No, not right. In problem solving we learn that the easiest conclusions are not necessarily the best direction. Leaving the door of your mind wide open to surprises could bring out the genius in you!
The problem with problems that are personal is that they blind us with emotion.
What do we do when we can’t pay the rent? The problem is real, and it seems the problem is the rent but is it?
Maybe you have been trying to have a child for a few years. Perhaps as yet, you have been unable to sustain a viable pregnancy. That is a genuine problem for the would-be parents whose lives feel driven by the calendar and the clock.
Problems come in so many shapes and sizes. Someone else’s issue may seem trivial, and ours, like a tree up close in the foreground of a painting, looks so real, so pressing and impressively close.
Problem Solving – Beyond Math, Should be Taught to Every Child
Schools, churches, community groups, parents, and organizations could change our world if we would see and act on the notion. Teach children, teenagers, mothers, fathers, bosses, employees, paupers, and prisoners on how to solve problems. With this pure intelligence that has such momentous influence, we can solve many of the issues that bombard our minds every day on the news.
Do you have problems to solve?
Hi, I'm Harmony Thiessen. I can help you solve any problem.
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