The problem was perplexing. It was an irrigation problem, which was occurring at the home of a long-time customer of mine. There was water leaking from one of the pipes in the ground. The problem was not that there was a leak, the problem was that the leak was occurring underneath a whole gang of other pipes, making it difficult to get to the actual problem (sounds a bit like emotional problems, as much as an irrigation problem, doesn’t it?).
Anyways, I sat over the leaking pipe, propped on one knee. The customer stood over me, awaiting my solution. “Let me think”, I said, rubbing the sweat from my brow. About that time, my co-worker, Pedro, approaches with a handful of shovels. He politely shoves me out of the way, and he exhaled his signature statement, with his broken English and heavy Spanish accent….
“You think about it, I fix it”
That’s it! Thirteen years, Pedro and I have worked together, and our approach to problem solving has remained the same. Here is the breakdown:
Wilson’s approach to problem solving:
Identify a problem, see it as a problem, think about the ways it will become a bigger problem, intellectualize the different options of approaching the problem, imagine the different problems that may arise from my attempt at solving the problem, and do anything and everything to avoid putting my hands on the problem. Most importanlty, WORRY about the problem.
Pedro’s approach to problem solving:
Fix the problem.
It’s just that simple. The only benefit that I can see from my approach to solving problems, is all of the little crap that I would never get done if I didn’t have a problem to avoid. Last year, I had to provide my accountant with a great deal of tax information. During the time I allocated for gathering the necessary data, I changed light bulbs, did laundry, stocked toilet paper in a guest bathroom that is used twice a year, dusted baseboards, and vacuumed my car. I did all of these things to avoid actually laying my hands on what I perceived as a potential problem. I spent probably 4 hours working AROUND the problem. Gathering the data necessary to put the problem behind me took about 45 minutes!
I need to be conscious of that fact that my conscious is what creates my facts. I need to see difficulties for what they are, not for what they can potentially be. Life is a ferocious game of whack-a-mole mixed up with a pez dispenser. Issues are gonna pop-up, the game is to knock em down or let them lay, but just staring at them from different angles does nothing, providing there is no real plan of attack. I need to decide if I want to allow something to become a problem. If the answer is yes, fix it. if the answer is no, discard it completely and look for more pleasant things to occupy my mind and my thoughts.
Have a great day. I want to know what ridiculous tasks that you have accomplished in an effort to avoid doing the things that you knew needed to be done, I have a lifetime full of them.
Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,