The wrong problems

We've all got problems in our lives. Everyone has something they could be better at, or something that isnít going according to plan.

Trying to resolve our problems can be easy, hard, or somewhere in between. It often seems that not long after we think we've identified the problem, we move on to trying to find the solution.

Most of the time this might be good enough. But sometimes we face problems that are stubborn or persistent, issues that seem to follow us around wherever we go.

What if those problems are persistent not because we don't want to solve them or because we are are not 'good enough' but because we haven't yet understood what the real problem is? How often do we think a particular approach has failed when what has really failed is our ability to diagnose the actual problem?

It doesn't matter what tool you use and how well you use them if you don't fully understand what the job that needs to be done is. A hammer is the right tool if your problem is that you need to join two pieces of wood together. If you need to cut a piece of wood into two, using a hammer is not going to be very effective. Hammers are often solutions to problems in the field of woodworking, but apply one to the wrong problem and it will become a hindrance rather than a help. I suppose that what I'm trying to say is that there are just as often right solutions to the wrong problems as there are wrong solutions to the right problems.

Persistent problems are that way for a reason. Maybe that reason is that we really don't understand what they really are. If this is the case, we can try as hard as we want, putting in all the time, money or effort we have to spare, but we might still struggle to break through. Spending time thinking about solutions makes sense intituitively, but it may be counterproductive in any number of ways. It might be important to remember this when thinking about problems in the future. Spending more time thinking deeply about what our real problems are might be more beneficial than trying to rushing to find a way to resolve them.