It used to be that when something was broken, people would endeavor to fix it. We used to solve problems, not just postpone and perpetuate them. That was then, though. These days, we’d rather throw a band-aid on the problem and call it a solution. We’d rather medicate, distract, or otherwise preoccupy the minds that should be steering humanity toward our next “greatest milestone.” And if that distracted “fix” doesn’t solve the dilemma, then we simply ignore it.
The problem is that people are too averse to being uncomfortable. Take me, for instance…if I had to use one word to describe myself, there’s no doubt in my mind as to what it would be.
Writing is the one consistency I’ve always had in my life, and it makes me uncomfortable that I haven’t yet figured out how to leverage that passion into a career that allows me to pursue the craft fulltime. That discomfort is what’s going to help me solve the problem. The people who read my work find it impactful. That sounds like a win, but really it’s a frustration – it proves that my dreams are obtainable in a way that is tangible to me, and yet…
Eventually that “And yet,” will frustrate us to the point of finding a complete solution rather than just the beginning of one, but only if we allow ourselves to feel it. To embrace it.
A soldier knows his life could be better if he could overcome his PTSD.
Society throws him paroxetine and a disability check to prevent the life or death choice of what comes next.
A company doesn’t understand why its culture isn’t attractive to millennials.
Maybe if we install a fountain soda machine and decorate the office with beanbags.
A father struggles with the rift that his alcoholism has caused between him and his son.
A glass of whiskey should take the edge right off that…
Stop taking the edge off. Stop accepting failure on the first attempt.
If the soldier would embrace the discomforts of the things he’d seen, he could use it to shape his own recovery and the recovery of others. He could unpack everything he’d compartmentalized and learn lessons that most people could never dream of.
If the company would realize that the problem isn’t the building they’re in, but their modus operandi, they could integrate the powerful passion of the younger generation and tap into what is soon to be the largest portion of our world economy.
If the father would embrace his inner conflict and guilt, he could transmute it into hatred for the substance that caused the separation in the first place. He could use it as motivation for self-betterment, and set an example for his son that mistakes can be overcome.
Not all solutions are easy. Sometimes radical mindsets are necessary to make the greatest progress. If we want to just live out our years perpetuating problems, it’s easy enough to do that: after all, we only have one life, and it’s a relatively short one. If you’re like me though, and you want to dedicate that life to having an impact and making the world a better place for our children and grandchildren, try to maintain awareness of the things you’re putting band-aids on. Focus on real solutions by considering the root of the problem, and remember to embrace the “And yet.”