What is the problem with problems?
people believe that their problems are unique to them. Many people believe problems
are not a good thing to have.
Some people make a living solving other people’s problems. And then there is me ….
My problem is that I see problems like mosquitoes hovering around me in the woods and frankly they just bug me. I want to know the nature of problems and more importantly how to get rid of them.
This is what I know to date
are by nature problematic. Collectively we have environmental, political,
economic, and social problems. Individually we have health, emotional, mental,
social and spiritual problems. All problems can be frightening, challenging and
controversial. Problems are also persistent in that they keep coming back if
not solved properly.
- Problems are timeless and universal. Everyone who has every lived, everyone who is living now and everyone who will live in the future has and will have essentially the same problems
- Problems are paradoxical and hierarchical. We have global problems and we have local problems. These problems can be simple or complex. Whether global or local, simple or complex, some problems are more important at different times in different places.
- Problems are common and ordinary. Everyone has problems and everyone solves problems in their own way. We are addicted to problems. We love to talk about our problems and we especially love to solve the problems of others! Problems are rationalizations and justifications for just about anything that happens in this world. We fill our newspapers and TV’s with them. Books and movies are built around them. Yet problems also are the very essence of human progress and individual growth.
With this profound clarity about the nature of problems I have come to the staggering self- evident conclusion “If you live, then you will have problems.” Problems are requisite to life itself as we know it.
But even if we know that problems are problematic, timeless, universal, paradoxical, hierarchical, common and ordinary, we still have not determined how to solve them.
So, I embarked on a study of everyday problem solving. I watched my neighbors solve problems. I talked to business men about their problems. I listened to politicians talking about problems solving on TV and in newspapers. I read books about famous problem solvers and I researched problems solving on the internet. I came away more confused than ever
I then concluded that the world needed another problem solving methodology that was simple and easy. Based on my research into the principles of integrity, I created a seven step sure fire principle- based problem solving methodology.
But that went out the window when I watched my ten month old son solve the basic problem of standing.
I couldn’t teach him the seven step approach besides he seemed to be doing fine all by himself.
That son of mine cannot hold a conversation in any language and is just now grappling with the notion of “no”. He barely understands the notion of balance let alone the laws of physics required to stand up.
He was solving the problem of standing naturally. It was as if some internal compass pointed to the problem and the internal physical and mental systems required to complete the job kick-started all by themselves. Without even knowing what he expected to accomplish, he began the process of overcoming his present limitations.
He also was solving the problem of standing spontaneously and creatively. Every time he got the opportunity he leveraged himself up in any way he could using any possible physical object within reach. He was unrelenting in his pursuit. Every day in every way he was practicing and learning.
He also had a good attitude for problem solving. He was undeterred by success or failure. If he fell down, he got up. If he got up, he tried to walk. He was not looking for approval. He was not competing with anyone or for anything. He didn’t care about his 10 month old friend who could already walk.
Now you can’t generalize about integrity based problem solving just by watching a baby but it did help.
Integrity is defined as wholeness, consistency and objectivity. In simple words, it is doing the right thing, doing the next right thing and doing things right.
Wholeness is the state of completeness. The problem of not being able to stand was overcome in order that he could become complete a standing in order to solve the problem of walking. Becoming complete is a natural process that begins with conception. That natural process includes a built in compass that identifies and engages problems. Problem solving then is a natural process that stimulates the journey to completion.
Consistency is the state of holding things together in time and space. Following the natural inclination to overcome the problem of standing, a baby is disciplined and relentless in their use of time and incredibly creative in using everything in their immediate world to complete the task.
Objectivity is the ability to deal with the features and characteristics of the problem, not the thoughts about the problem. Babies are pure in their approach. They don’t think about the problem the way we do. They just work on it and learn from it. Nor does a baby measure success or failure the way we measure it. They are not looking for fame, fortune or power. Finally they solve problems without competition and stress.
So what does this mean to you? Integrity based problem solving simply means getting back to these basics
- Problem solving is a natural and essential process that we are well equipped to do even if we have forgotten how. And problems never go away even if we want them to. So we better get good at it!
- You have everything you need right in front of you to solve problems. You have all time you need and more than enough resources. Even if you are not good at one type of problem, you can always hire someone who is.
- Problem solving will teach you purity of thought and objectivity in action. Aren’t these goals enough of reason to engage any problem.
So the next time you have a problem, try the integrity based approach. Do the right thing, do the next right thing and do things right.
Want to learn more? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me. I want to speak to you about integrity and how it can help you and all of us.