What is your problem?

Do you have a tried and true process to solve problems and obtain answers to questions? Not a bad idea, really. A simple formula that you have saved on the hard drive between your ears will help you solve most of life’s problems and steer you toward good solutions. Your friends and associates will think you have excellent judgment and your sweetheart will respect you if you stick to your formula.

Mine is not original or exotic, but simple and easy to remember. Of course you may use it. I don’t own the copyright and if I did, same answer as before: use it.

First, I try to wrap my arms around the problem or question. I want to identify it and get a feel for it. My eyes focus and my hearing sharpens as I strive to learn the scope and importance of the issue. I want definition and degree, density and radius, not necessarily a quick fix. If it could be resolved quickly, I forget about the formula and just deal with it.

Once I have an idea of what the wording of the question is, then I start gathering facts. Some say it helps to create a “T” account. You know the one with the good on one side and the bad on the other. Or the yes side and the no side? Or the loves me and the loves me not side? Some issues feel so far from being resolved that a T account helps me work on it today and a little more tomorrow. Maybe over a weeks time I will come up with enough facts to have my answer without having to run tests,  schedule role-playing or drink extra coffee.

Back to the facts: they are often the stuff that matters and the information you will want to retain, as opposed to the less meaningful stuff like what your neighbors will think about you, or what your kids will tell their friends. It is helpful to differentiate between fact and feeling at this time. Nothing wrong with feelings; they have their place in this process. But first we are gathering facts and sorting them.

Next comes the tricky part. Try to sum up the lists of good and bad and compare the totals. If you have 9 yes items and 5 no items, then maybe the right answer is yes… Maybe I say.

Because after the pencil sharpening, it may not matter what the two sides look like. That’s because you have to like the answer. You have to feel good about it. I can say the yes votes outweigh the no votes for me to go on holiday to Russia, but there are intangibles. Don’t forget the costs involved or the inherent risks. A carbon footprint test may push you one way, but the chance of lifetime to climb Mt. Whitney might tip you over and up you go.

Do you have any problems? I guess I have a few, but I hope I have my arms around them. That at least makes them manageable; of a human dimension. Nobody should lose sleep deciding whether to have chicken or fish. But what about human flesh? Now that’s another question.


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