What it is … What it Could be?
A great mentor of mine, Dr. Nido Qubein, once shared the difference between problem solving and solution finding.
He said, “Problem solving is looking at what it is … Solution Finding is looking at what it could be!”
This idea has influenced my beliefs since I first heard these words years ago and I try to incorporate it into every situations in my life that it applies.
Except for when it doesn’t …
Here are a few places it doesn’t:
- When your expected to report the facts. People don’t need to hear what might happen, what could happen, or what you think could possibly, maybe, conceivably happen. If you are responsible for reporting the facts, stop making guesses as to what could happen and then pretend they are the facts so you can instill fear or boost your ratings. Simply report the facts. Otherwise, you are lying and betraying your audience. You are not an all-knowing wizard … stop acting like you are!
- When a situation doesn’t unfold the way you want it to and you’re angry. In every situation you have a choice to come from a place of love or come from a place of fear. Protesting about what you think is going to happen before it happens means you’re coming from a place of fear and dealing in a world that currently doesn’t exist. It’s conjecture and projection … it is not reality. You are simply trying to make it mean what you need to make it mean so you can satisfy your agenda, your fear, or your own selfish needs. Being violent while protesting the possibility of violence or acts that haven’t happened yet is kind’ve like getting chemo treatments because you think someday you might get cancer, not because you have it. It doesn’t make sense.
- When people do things that they know are wrong and then try to spin the facts so you can deflect the blame or responsibility on someone else. When you mess up, when the results you get in your life are not what you or anybody else wants them to be, you can only look at yourself . You are 100% responsible for the results you get in your life. The government, president, senator, boss, co-worker, sister, dad, or kindergarten teacher (who yelled at you because you colored the flowers green) are not to blame. It is all on you … 100% … period … the end!
Looking at new ways to solve problems means you have to see things in a way that they could be. It means you have to decide to throw away the stuff that doesn’t work out and possibly keep some of what does. The problem is that some folks are deeply attached to that old stuff, whether it is an old process, an old system, or an old belief. They don’t like change because they fear the unknown. You can’t change anything if you’re not willing to let go of your old ways of thinking, especially thinking that doesn’t work any longer.
When you are experiencing change or assessing a situation, it is critically important that you be sure to deal in facts and not fiction. Be sure you are looking at what it is, not what it could be, because you might move forward based on a premise that is incorrect or just plain wrong. Be sure that whomever is presenting the facts to you is not motivated by a self-serving purpose that promotes a separate agenda (i.e selling advertising, getting ratings, trying to disguise the truth, or passing off their responsibility).
In the end … knowing when to look at what it is and knowing when to look at what it could be … just might make all the difference in the world!