When you want your clothes to fit perfectly, go to a talented, experienced tailor. The same idea applies to any problem you face. For your best fit, take the full measure of the problem.
Problems are like clothes.
I have large thighs. I’ve always had a hard time finding pants to fit me. It’s embarrassing and time-consuming.
Part of the problem is that I have never accepted my large, muscular thighs. I keep thinking if I run more or walk more or spend more time on the treadmill, my thighs will become more “normal.”
But they don’t. Which means that year after year, since I was a child, I have three choices: accept my physical form, be disappointed, or get pants which are tailored to my shape.
Problems are like this too. If you keep wishing that the problem were different than what it actually is, you will waste tons of time and heartache.
Instead, accept the situation. This is the heart of powerful, effective problem solving.
What are you avoiding?
Which brings us to today’s topic.
How can you find your best solution to a complex problem?
Complex problems are by nature thorny. That’s what makes them complex. Your problems are thorny because there are so many competing interests, and it’s hard to sort out the boundaries between what’s good for you and what’s good for your negotiating partners.
You want this. They want that. You want it now, they want it later. You’re ready to go high, they choose low.
And in the midst of these often competing interests, there is often something you are avoiding. You don’t want to cut to the chase for some reason.
The reason why almost doesn’t matter. The fact is, you are dancing around some key issue. Not facing the inconvenient truth about something.
If you want the best fit, you must commit.
And this is where the cloth meets the thigh. How do you find a perfect fit to the problem you are trying to solve?
You must commit to the truth.
Is the truth easy? Is the truth even something worthy of seeking? Isn’t that a very sticky word, full of poison and depredation?
Yes and no.
If you believe you can ever find absolute truth, you’ve got a long row to hoe. But don’t let that discourage you! Step back a step or two from “absolute.” Tell your own truth with courage. Articulate what is true for you as clearly and as bravely as you can.
Because when you do, you begin to see the problem much more clearly. You can feel its heartbeat. You suddenly know your problem much more intimately.
And when that happens, you’re on the road to an elegant solution which actually fits the problem perfectly.
As always, start small. Take a problem that is not life or death. Look at the problem closely. Do you understand the problem intimately? If not, commit to telling the truth about the problem, even when it’s uncomfortable, or inconvenient.
As you work on solving your complex problem, ask yourself: “What inconvenient truth am I avoiding?
Want more help?
I’m here to help you focus, overcome resistance, and make progress in this area.
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