The types of problems we teach children in schools to solve, are quite different from our real life problems.
A problem you get in school are like –
1. Here is a triangle and here are the sizes of two angles. What is the size of the third angle?
2. I buy a bag for Rs 100/-. I want to sell it at a profit of 20%. What should be my selling price?
In school, somebody has already, very clearly, defined the problem for me. More importantly, there is ONLY ONE right solution.
In real life, most of the times, that is not the case. The vast majority of the problems we face, we do not come across them as neatly packaged, clearly defined problems. Neither does any problem have ONE answer.
We first need to define a problem. In other words, we must ourselves find, what is ‘actually’ the problem we need to solve? Nobody can define it for us. We need to define it for ourselves.
1. Most people struggle because of lack of resources. Some succeed inspite of it. So, is lack of resources the problem? Is it something else? What is the problem then?
2. Some people had a painful childhood. They carry the scars forever. They find it difficult to trust others.
On the contrary, some people’s pain has made them stronger and not bitter. Is bad childhood the problem?
Is it something else? What actually needs to be solved?
3. Competition reduces prices to gain more customers. You are not able to compete with them. You make losses.
Ironically, inspite of low margins, some traders are thriving. So, is predatory pricing the problem?
Is it something else? What business problem needs to be solved?
Unless we have the ability the know what is the problem we need to solve, we will end up focussing on wrong issues and solving the wrong problems.
Result? The mess of our life, stays !!!
When the mess stays, it is normally difficult to accept that we were on the wrong. In his seminal book ‘A hero with 1000 faces’,
Joseph Campbell writes, “We are always searching for a face to blame”.
The irony is, even when we succeed in finding a face to blame, our life stays in a mess. It does not improve a bit. It leaves us frustrated, helpless and angry.
Here is an interesting question for you? What are the immediate problems of your life that you need to solve?
If you know the answer, go for it. My prayers are with you.
If you do not know the answer, relentlessly identify the problem and then solve it once and for all. My prayers are with you.
And yes, if you are a parent, do make your children experts in ‘defining’ the problem BEFORE they venture into solving a problem.
They will thank you forever!
With love, prayers, and exceptional wishes,
Change your thoughts. Change your life.
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