I get tired of solving problems. I try to avoid them. I try to avoid getting into them at all.
That may actually not be the best strategy. We know that mistakes are vital to learning. Problems are also opportunities for learning and should be welcomed, not avoided.
But problems sometimes bring us into very damaging or terrifying situations. They’re not like math mistakes on paper. They’re things like “You’re going to have to close the business because you don’t have enough money to run it.”
How can we look at problems as being anything less than something to be avoided? A person like me sees problems in every situation. I’m constantly scheming to avoid problems most people don’t even think about until it’s right on them.
Two thoughts. One is from a video I saw on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tzaahir/videos/10217087843498620/UzpfSTE1NDUxMTI1OTQ6MTAyMTc2MjA1NjkyOTY0NDk/
It shows a martial arts teacher providing a profound lesson to a young person.
He cocks a stick back as if to hit a boy in front of him and the boy ducks. He admonishes the boy not to duck before the stick is actually swinging at his head. He says, “If you duck, I’m just going to hit you over the head!”
He instructs the kid to watch the stick carefully and duck at the right time, putting his focus on the source of the threat (the attacker) and not the threat itself (the stick). This is a vital lesson. Trying to avoid a problem before it manifests may only make you vulnerable to a worse problem, one you can’t see or avoid because you’ve locked yourself in a defensive mode.
There’s another reason not to avoid problems. Problems require solutions. Those solutions are sometimes better than the problem is bad.
My business, the Grant Park Academy of the Arts, is in a vulnerable place with our space. If our landlords decide to charge us more, we will be in a situation where we can’t afford to relocate. What do we do?
Well, even though that particular problem isn’t directly upon us, we have to prepare for it now, because we might not have time to prepare for it later. We can’t just duck: we’d have to reorganize, rethink, martial considerable forces to get the business settled somewhere else. Without a plan, we’ll be in serious hot water.
And yet the plan we are creating is better than the plan we would have had without the threat of the problem. Because of the threat of the problem, we have gotten more creative, more daring. Some of our solutions have been marvelous!
What’s your problem? I’m always interested to know how these things I’m discussing relate to your life. Please share!
Adam Cole is a Jazz Musician Who Writes Books. Author, educator and performer, Adam chats weekly on the subject of listening, creativity and living your best life. To take a quiz on what kind of music warrior you are, please visit www.mymusicfriend.net