A problem. It disturbs. We strive to solve it. We jump into action, order others to act, only to find that the solution that we come up with doesn't serve.
Here is the late physicist David Bohm: "Thought is constantly creating problems and then trying to solve them. But as it tries to solve them it makes it worse because it doesn't notice that it's creating them, and the more it thinks, the more problems it creates."
Problems are an invitation. That's all. An invitation into curiosity, courage, and, yes, creativity. An opportunity to make things better. Innovation.
Another way to frame this: Nothing is broken, nothing needs fixing. I am free to explore and create.
What happens in this space is pure: Experiencing the moment, clear and calm. Sensations, thoughts. Empathy for others and how they might relate to this space.
We can decide how we choose to perceive ourselves, others, and the circumstances. We can choose our relationship to what is, with who we are together.
And then we can choose what to do next. Just enough courage for the next step. Creative. With effectiveness and compassion.
Why courage? Because staying with the original problem is usually a safe way out.
Coming back to innovation: One of the six myths of product development has it that the sooner a project is started, the sooner it will be finished. But, says Harvard Professor Steven Pinker, “Choosing a problem to solve is not a technological issue, but a moral and political one -- namely, what is it that we ought to be trying to do?”
A few questions to play with when a problem disturbs:
Why is this a problem?
What is happening that is even more important?
What is another way of looking at the situation?
What might be a different question to ask?
What courageous choice will I make?
What is one different question you can ask today?
And for scientist thoughts:
Pair this post with Harvard Professor Steven Pinker’s 2018 article, on trusting statistics, the value of conscious capitalism, and, of course, more on defining problems.
A quote for those of you working with teams and employees: “Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.” — Paul Hawken
It is indeed about relationship. Share with me the questions you ask. Let's guide each other into loving what is and constructively going forward.