Someone I know recently spoke about the significance of a watch he’d received from his parents. Aside from the fact it was gifted to him by his parents, he spoke about what it had taught him about time.
In addition to reminding him to respect time and be punctual, he spoke of the idea that “this too shall pass.”
It is a simple and powerful reminder of the transient nature of things. We go through ups and downs that all seem permanent in the moment.
But, it is all just a matter of time of perspective.
This too shall pass.
When things go wrong, we have the choice to either see them as broken or as a result of an imbalance in our approach. For example, issues may have resulted from moving too fast/too slow/too recklessly/too thoughtfully.
If we broke something, we are left with a limited set of next steps – typically mourn it or regret it/deal with the emotions, clean up the pieces, reflect on the learning, and move on. The hardest of these is dealing with the unpleasant feelings that follows breaking something valuable.
If we believe the situation went south because of an imbalance in our approach, on the other hand, the future is rife with possibilities. Sure, there may be a few tricky situations that need resolution. But, we get to approach them with the optimism that there’s a way back – we just need to do the work to right the balance.
Every once in a rare while, we do find ourselves dealing with situations where something was broken. But, for the rest of the time, at least in my experience, we’re dealing with consequences of an imbalance.
As a result, I’ve come to realize that approaching such situations as an opportunity to re-balance is a better, more constructive, way forward than treating something as broken.
Optimism is a self fulfilling prophecy.
Here are 5 questions I’ve been thinking about a lot as I seek to explain problems better (no shortage of ongoing issues :-))-
1. What is the problem?
2. Where does it lie?
3. Why does it exist?
4. What could we do about it?
5. What should we do about it?
I’ve been finding it helpful to just write out my answers to these questions and then rearrange them in some version of “Situation-Complication-Solution.”
The principle here is to do a better job separating the thinking process from the writing process. And, the first step to separating the thinking process is ensuring the thinking is done in the first place.
(H/T Barbara Minto’s Pyramid Principle for recommending these questions when approaching problem solving)