Problems do Not Exist

April 12, 2011 — Deja un comentario

As new-age-sounding as it may be, I believe that a powerful, meaningful way of approaching situations is the belief that problems do not “exist”.

What do I mean with that?

Well, it surely doesn´t mean that the situations we call problematic are not so. There´s a radical difference, which we may call philosophical, not in a Byzantine way, but rather in a very practical sense.

Going way back into the basics, let´s say that what we call a problem is what we sense as a difference between what a situation is and what we would like it to be. It´s deeply rooted in a matter of focus, perspective, situation, expectations, and so on.

This difference alone would suffice to understand that a perceived difference is the problem, rather than the situation itself, but let´s take a closer look.

A problem as a thing in itself gives us an incentive into thinking that the solution can be achieved by simply “making it disappear”, hence posing a serious bias towards symptoms rather than causes.

We spend over the budget… Don´t spend anymore.

Seems unrealistic, right? Yet it´s done this way everyday in every aspect of life. A government raising taxes because it needs more cash, a business firing staff to achieve profitability, speeding in traffic because we are always running late, skipping meals because we are overweight, staying up late to finish some urgent work, getting in debt to pay for our previous debt, stuffing pills to get the flu away quickly, and so on…

Short term solutions, “only once, just this time”, treating symptoms, they all work based upon a problem existing on it´s own, and so trying to make it just disappear.

Experience tells us that they come back, every time faster and bigger…

If we see a problem as a matter of a gap between what “is” and what we would want it to, is implied that what “is” is a result or consequence of something prior, of a conjunction of many different elements. Thus, our solutions have to point to the process that generated this gap, not with the actual situation.

This direction points to actual solutions, which means that the situation stops appearing again, and away from temporary patches.

So, in moving away from the existence of problems and into the existence of a system or process with effects different from our desires, we gain a powerful framework for action.

As less problems “exist”, more meaningful solutions are applied.

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