I have seen too many times in my life when a problem seems to have an easy solution and that solution caused a new problem. Most recently I purchased a keyboard cover for my MacBook. The problem was the oil from my fingers was getting on my keyboard and I wanted a protective layer to keep the keys from wearing out. The solution worked but now when I put my MacBook away the oil gets on my screen. This is not a big deal but it got me thinking about how we solve problems.
Many times we get in a hurry and try to fix things with a quick solution not thinking about what the consequences are. I think this happens because people tend to be short sighted, I know I am. It often takes a long time to see the new problem but it is there regardless.
I recently watched an episode of River Monsters that explained this well. The host was in Papa New Guinea because humans were being attacked by something in the water. The locals had no idea what it was. One of the attacks even ended in a fatality. The host figured out that the problem was a fish that had been introduced 15 years earlier to the lake to help there be enough fish for people to eat. Over time this fish adapted and went from a vegetarian to a meat eater in order to survive. It is note worthy that this fish is a cousin to the Piranha. Little did people know 15 years before that their attempt to add fish to the lake for people to eat would end up eating them.
Here are some suggestions for keeping this from happening in your business, family, or life.
1. Be Patient – Patients helps you consider what issues may arrise. You can’t possibly think of them all but at least you won’t rush into a decision you will regret later.
2. Do a Test – This is not always possible but if you can it will be invaluable. Find a way to test the solution before implementing it fully. I think of the directions on spray cleaners that often say “Try on a small hidden area first”. Good advice from a spray cleaner.
3. Commit – I have found in my own life that the “if only” comment or mindset only brings discouragement. When making a decision I need to be willing to commit fully and if problems arise address them. Being committed helps you move forward. Constantly wishing things were different leaves you stuck.
4. Unnecessary Change – Consider the possibility that things don’t need to change. Maybe it is the way you are handling a situation that needs adjustment rather than the issue itself. My sons pediatrician pointed out that we all have habits. If I don’t want my son to suck his thumb he may start biting his nails. I have to decide which is worse. Sometimes we assume we need change. I can choose to handle the problem a different way and it may keep a worse issue from arising.
I hope this helps you think a little more before jumping to a solution that could end up bringing a bigger problem. I would love to hear your experience with a solution that caused problems or a way you would add that could keep that problem from happening. Join the conversation below.
What is a way to slow down the solution process in a positive way to avoid causing new problems?