Part II, Go To The Source Of The Problem

Our problems are either solved through our own action, or they are left for someone else to solve, or they continue to eat away at our peace of mind for long periods of time. Eventually a lengthy problem can frustrate us so much that we are forced to come to some kind of reconciliation whether it is haphazard or resolute.

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A brief intro about how I formulated this article. It came straight from the events in my own life which led me to have an understanding of common sense and a bit of a knack for transferring thoughts into words. I was raised with diligent care given to the building blocks of life which led to a strong foundation in common sense. I was never the perfect student but I always had a good foundation to seek the right direction in life. The idea of problem resolution came to me through years of trial and error. Resolving problems was a learning process for me which required many adjustments and refinements until I came upon some principles that worked. I have used principles from five categories of problems many times and find they do result in resolution. A book could be written on this and indeed many have by distinguished individuals. This is my attempt to reduce the bulkiness of problem resolution to a brief article which captures the highlights of my thoughts. I realized sharing what has worked for me throughout the years would be a good opportunity to perhaps help others. If only one person reads this article and they resolve a problem based on my experience with problem resolution, it was worth the effort I put into this.

Our problems are either solved through our own action, or they are left for someone else to solve, or they continue to eat away at our peace of mind for long periods of time. Eventually a lengthy problem can frustrate us so much that we are forced to come to some kind of reconciliation whether it is haphazard or resolute. My belief is there are at least five categories of problems. I will briefly offer ideas for resolving problems related to each of the categories in the following order; resolved, unresolved, ignored, festering, and out of our control. All problems regardless of which category they fall in are only resloved by going to the source of the problem.

First resolving a problem takes effort, planning, and execution. There is a lot of information in this short paragraph on resolving a problem, it’s a lot to digest but a problem requires diverse and diligent thought to solve. If a problem is to be resolved, consider the following guidelines. Always go directly to the source of the problem even though it may be a difficult endeavor. The best way to resolve a problem is to identify it, confront it head on, determine the desired outcome, and determine what you can live with if you don’t achieve the desired outcome. Set up a direct line of communication to find common ground, resolutions are more apt to happen when there is common ground. Leave emotions out of the resolution, attack the problem never the person. Be prepared to steer away from possibilities which lead to conflict. The clearer the problem is defined, the better the outcome. Determine who is affected and stick to facts. Brainstorming will create many ideas for resolution. Review where and how the  problem occurred and what are all the possible scenarios that could derail a solution.  Are there barriers to a solution that must be overcome? It’s important to be honest and  listen intently because if a problem is addressed in a haphazard manner, the deeper issue never surfaces, it just gets kicked down the road to pop up another day. Threats, blaming, getting even, or bringing up the past will rarely solve any problem. Remember what created the problem and how it was resolved so it does not reoccur in the future. Do not be afraid to ask for guidance from God.  “The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but anyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5)

The information in the previous paragraph addresses many things to think about when resolving a problem. Implementing those guidelines separately or in conjunction with multiple guidelines will give a person the best opportunity to resolve a problem  Do not get discouraged, some kind of resolution will occur. Perhaps it may not be entirely to your liking or on your time schedule, but it can be one you are able to live with.

The second type of problem is the unresolved problem. Even going directly to the source of an unresolved problem may not be productive but it can be worth a try. Some problems are destined for no resolution and remain unresolved due to stubbornness of the parties involved or the lack of our own motivation to solve them. If neither party is willing to reconcile, there are three choices.

A) Accept there are differences of opinion that are deeply ingrained and quickly move on. Some problems may not be resolved, but agreeing to disagree is an option. Try not to take problems personal, it’s easy to withdrawal when we have been attacked.  Attacks call for confidence in ourself and our abilities, our confidence must rule the day.

B)  Although one may feel like a problem cannot be resolved, never give up if it affects your happiness. Agreeing on another time to revisit a problem after a cooling off period can lead cooler heads to prevail. This cooling off period can be good when parties are not in the frame of mind to resolve a problem.  Stepping away to regroup before saying something one regrets is also a good strategy.  Agreeing to revisit a problem at a later date can also prompt one of the parties to take the initiative in the interim. Usually a clearer and more rational thought process is brought forth after a period of  time to consider various routes to resolution. Yet some problems are destined to be unresolved in a manner that meets our expected outcome.

C) If a problem cannot be resolved, enlisting a third party to negotiate a resolution is an option but it can potentially muddy the original dispute. Over time the problem can be sugar coated in fear of upsetting someone or it can be completely misconstrued and become more complicated. When third party resolutions are presented, they may be a little more abstract with a touch of ad lib which may not reflect the real guts of the original problem. Other times involving a third party brings a new perspective and resolution is obtained. Even in third party resolutions, the involvement of  the disputing parties is a requirement.  Just beware of third party resolutions because many times they have no ownership in the original problem or they look for some kind of gain from the resolution. Third parties are surely a necessity for problem resolution in legal matters, health matters, and any matter that would require expertise beyond our own capabilities. Even third parties sometimes struggle to find common ground to move forward. Some problems are destined for a lengthy resolution or compromise, some degree of acceptance should be considered so one can get on with their life.

The third type of problem is ignoring the problem. If a problem affects your happiness, it must be addressed. Ignoring a problem will never make it disappear and it will eat away at your peace of mind. Confront the problem quickly but with diligence. Don’t wait until the last minute to address an issue because it will be a haphazard resolution. Ignoring a problem only re-enforces the perpetrators will to continue to take advantage of a situation. Bad habits will definitely be developed by ignoring problems, the thought that someone else will solve them for us is often not true. The more we ignore problems the more we become disengaged with family, friends, society, and the world. Eventually an “I don’t care” attitude develops and that is the beginning of a lazy attitude toward life. Addressing a problem will bring about changes in our life that contribute to happiness, self motivation, unity, understanding, and compassion.

The fourth type of problem is the festering problem. The festering problem never gets resolved unless we face the source. Do not intentionally let a problem fester, it will only grow and get worse because it is not resolved. Letting a problem fester causes stress and anxiety. It will lead to bitterness, irritation, and will certainly lead to decay between the festering parties. These failures of resolution will take a toll on ones ability to function optimally on the job and in their personal life. The longer a problem festers, the less time we have for happiness and peace with the most important things in our life. Always address problems, it’s challenging at times due to the circumstances, but the payoff will put nagging issues to rest.

The fifth type of problem we struggle with is the problem which is completely out of our control. This is a problem where the source must be considered and is it possible to go to the source? These types of problems are usually created high up on the chain of command and pushed down to a level which impacts all of us. They are real problems and can be quite frustrating, but they are not worth consuming all of our time, energy, or our life. This type of problem will never just fade away, try to find a way to cope with issues which affect your happiness. The out of our control problem can be very difficult to resolve due to the chain of command. If one is unable to cope with the problem try to muster the self confidence to follow the proper channels to address the problem. Be prepared for a lengthy journey, stick with it, be patient, and be prepared for the outcome.

There are many avenues to take once we go to the source of the problem. With prudent thought, happiness and resolution can ensue. I hope you have found some helpful information in this article. These are common sense approaches which are known by all of us. In the heat of the moment, it’s easy to forget the basic steps we must take in order to find resolution to problems. I can personally attest that I have frozen more than once when presented with a shocking problem that I was not prepared for. Finding a way to resolution at that particular instant escaped my ability to logically respond. Only after regrouping was I able to respond and diligently resolve the problem. I suspect we all have been in similar situations.

If we have faith, life is easier. We know that God is there to take our hand and carry us through our burdens. God gives us strength to face our problems and to bring resolution, comfort, peace, and happiness.  I know you’ll find a way to solve your problems day by day.

 

Part One – Go To The Source Of The Problem

When a persons values and priorities are affected, there is a problem. It’s up to each individual to determine how important a problem is. If we are able to look beyond the moment and look at the big picture to determine if an issue is worth getting involved in, we are in a far better position to find resolution.

As promised a few days ago I have put together the first installment of an article titled, “Go To The Source Of The Problem”.  After delving into the topic of problems, I found a brief overview of problems was necessary before actually getting into “Go To The Source Of The Problem.  Problems as a topic is a huge bundle. Unbundling this required me to do a condensed two part series. I will  kick off Part One with a prelude to problems. This brief prelude to my article brings to light the fact that we all face problems each day. These problems are real, they must be addressed, and they are never ending.

Problems are guaranteed to pop up each day. They are all around us, some we can resolve and others are out of our control. Problems come in every form, each of us solves a myriad issues daily without much thought, they’re routine. The problems that make us think and occupy our mind are the ones that demand our time, energy, and resources to solve. These types of problems are the ones that can cause us a lot of duress.

We have all faced problems to some extent with many of the following issues: relationships, self image, being alone, health, work, personal business, stuck in a rut, financial matters,  difficult people, never enough time, being alone, depression, life is out of balance, lack of patience, electronic and technical overload, failure to listen, failure to communicate, responsibility without authority, parenting, people who work against you, and most anything which creates a dilemma for us or someone close to us. These daily problems stream their way into our life. They are the fuel that ignites our stressors which drains our happiness, peace, and energy.

The problem with problems is that they keep us from focusing on the joy of our life, family, and friends. There is nothing wrong with encountering problems, they are simply a fact of life. It’s how we deal with problems that determines our happiness. Sometimes we create our own problems, that does not mean we are terribly flawed, it just means we are human. The same kind of thinking that created a problem will not work to solve the problem.

We can look at someone else’s life and think gee, what a wonderful life they have, if only I had their life mine would be utopia. That is not true because even a person with a wonderful life encounters problems that can be overwhelming. Each person must manage their own life according to the problems they encounter.

Everyone has been introduced to problems at one time or another and life definitely has its ups and downs. It’s destined to be that way, that’s how we learn. Sometimes we are sad, other times we are elated, and once in a while we may find ourselves on an even keel where we enjoy windows in time while our problems seem to dwindle.

When a persons values and priorities are affected, there is a problem. It’s up to each individual to determine how important a problem is. If we are able to look beyond the moment and look at the big picture to determine if an issue is worth getting involved in, we are in a far better position to find resolution. Each day is another test and at the end of the day we must be able to reconcile our problems. When we are ready for bed, it’s nice to gently lie our head on the pillow and feel comfort and peace which comes from a clear mind.  Acknowledging and resolving our problems which robs our sleep will give us the best possible chance for sound rest. Oh to be free of problems that nagged us during the day.

Problems are either resolved, unresolved, ignored, or festering and that is the body of my next installment in a few days, Part Two of  “Go To The Source Of The Problem”.

May your blessings be many and your problems be few.

 

Opinions

Stay focused, stay positive, and keep moving in a direction which contributes to kindness. Quickly put distractions in the rear view mirror, move on with determination, and stay on course.

During the past few years I have posted many thoughts on FB and on my blog which personally came from within and from my experience with life, it’s easy anyone can do it. Some people are interested, others could care less. I would be very naive to think my opinions and experiences resonate with everyone. My intent is to build a story over time that relates to everyday occurrences in real life. For every good intentioned thought or point of view, there will always be a different perspective. Different perspectives are fine, they can ignite a change which results in positive growth, understanding, and revising an existing opinion if we are open minded.

Over the years I’ve come to accept that it is fine for people to have different opinions, after all they are entitled to them whether they fit my narrative or not. Besides, if we cannot fathom anyones’s opinion except our own, we will travel a path which leads to a narrow tunnel. We become stuck in that tunnel and unwilling to budge. Each person is responsible for the actions they initiate in their life, and everyone has the freedom of choice. It’s how we choose to implement choices that determines our progression in life and thereafter.

Differences of opinion help define our world, they can steer misguided thoughts and actions in a positive direction or they can be misguided and create discord if encouraged.  Our voyage through life is filled with agreements and disagreements. Differences are a way of life, they are bound to happen on a daily basis, that’s just the way the world operates.  If one believes whole heartedly in a concept, step forward and defend it in a rational manner.

Stay focused, stay positive, and keep moving in a direction which contributes to kindness. Quickly put distractions in the rear view mirror, move on with determination, and stay on course.

May the upcoming weekend bring peace of mind, kindness, and worship.

Now Is The Time

Lord, when we are feeble and frail, let us be able to reflect and know we did some good. Let us not look back and wish we did something when we did nothing.

Who doesn’t dream of living a long life, particularly after retirement? Everyone does, especially if that long life includes health and happiness. Unfortunately many people do not realize their dream due to physical maladies which wreak havoc on the body. They worked so hard for those they loved. Life is so very precious, each day we have the opportunity to make today a little better than yesterday whether we are still working or retired.

Retirement is embraced with great anticipation when we face challenging days on the job.  If we are fortunate to be retired, we recall the days which summoned all of our patience and skills to survive the drama surrounding working with others. We dream about how nice it would be to wake up each morning knowing we are the ones in charge of managing our time. What a wonderful feeling of freedom to rise at the break of day and realize this day is my day, I choose what I accomplish today. We survived, and we are retired.

Anytime is a good time, but retirement is a perfect time to call upon our strengths to make the world a better place for everyone. If there is some small deed we can do to resolve an issue or to make life better for others, now is the perfect time to step up to the plate. We are retired, we have time, we have resources, we have experience, we have what it takes to help others. Our time can be filled with good works and making ourself useful to others. What is the point of living through many decades if we can’t see that the world was made better because of something nice we did?

God knows we all long for freedom from a daily job. God knows we need his help. We should ask for his help to guide us in a direction that grants us the knowledge to spend our time wisely so that we are a blessing to others. Lord, when we are feeble and frail, let us be able to reflect and know we did some good. Let us not look back and wish we did something when we did nothing.

 

Manage Life Between Start And Finish

We can easily understand that it does not matter how old we are or how much we achieve in life, we must continue to manage our life and be engaged in life to keep going. Sometimes it takes determination and courage to constantly try new concepts but that is exactly what must be done in order to progress

No matter what age we are, we have started and the finish line will come. In the meantime we can manage our time and grow each day in some way. We can experience something small each day which prompted us think about a particular moment in time. These small revelations can bring discovery, joy, and peace to our life. A huge key to life progressing in a favorable manner is to learn from mistakes, from accomplishments, from elders, from youngsters, from theologians, and from other honorable sources which seek to educate us. As long as we are alive we can never give up, we must learn. Nobody wants to suffer failure and decline from lack of motivation to learn or from lack of motivation to keep all of our systems functioning at an optimal level.

We can easily understand that it does not matter how old we are or how much we achieve in life, we must continue to manage our life and be engaged in life to keep going. Sometimes it takes determination and courage to constantly try new concepts but that is exactly what must be done in order to progress. Why be lazy and unmotivated?  It will swiftly lead to the descent from lofty heights.

We were destined to learn the day we were born till the day we come to the finish line. Time seems slow or swift depending on age, either way it must be managed and not ignored if progress is to be made. When we reach the age where we assume the ability of choice, we either go up, stall, or go down. We can gain all the tools to manage life’s timetable by following  the righteous path. If we challenge ourself we are bound learn, we are bound to make life better. A moment wasted is a moment that could have made a difference in our life or someone else’s life. It makes sense to manage time wisely between the start and the finish line, the alternative is simply atrophy and decline.

Overuse Of The Exclamation Point Hits Epidemic Proportions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

An exclamation point is used to emphasize a vigorous event or commanding revelation. I begrudgingly accept that, its overuse has resulted in nothing more than just another punctuation mark or a broken nail pounded with a jackhammer at the end of any sentence.

The obsessive overuse of the exclamation point on social media and writing has become an epidemic. It has evolved into an obsession to emphatically over emphasize ordinary circumstances. An exclamation point has become mundane, misused, overused, and unexcitable. It is often misunderstood and seems interchangeable with other forms of punctuation. I openly admit I am not a professional writer nor an English major and I make mistakes in grammar frequently. A basic understanding of grammar should be sufficient to digest the proper use of the exclamation point. We all have that basic understanding, right?

An exclamation point is used to emphasize a vigorous event or commanding revelation. It is used to indicate excitability and can offer great revelations when used properly. Its overuse has resulted in a broken nail flattened with a jackhammer to drive home a point at the end of statements or it is substituted for more suitable forms of punctuation. The issue is, exclamation points are rarely used correctly and are often used to affirm emotions which have angry tones or to proclaim an unwillingness to accept another’s opinion. Many people despise the exclamation point and immediately ignore expressions of statements which have a nail pounded at the end. At no point in the English language is it ever considered ideal to use multiple exclamation points after making a statement.!!!!!!!!!!  It creates a negative interpretation because of the repeated nails flattened with a jackhammer. When a point has been made, one exclamation point is sufficient. No useful purpose is served by adding multiple nails jackhammered with an overwhelming g-force that flattens the keyboard. Multiple exclamation points can expose lazy vocabulary skills. There are a multitude of word choices available to drive home a point without using an exclamation point.

Feuding with one who has ended their statement with an emphatic exclamation point quite often begins a volley of exchanges which can quickly escalate into nonsense or swatting each other with rapid fire rants. Slow down, think about what needs to be said or written without the emphatic sledge hammer at the end of a statement. Composing a rational viewpoint which limits the possibility for turbulent exchanges and minimizes misinterpretations may take some time and diligent thought. Draft a sentence or thought that can initiate an exchange of ideas which are mutually acceptable to each party and omit the sledge hammer at the end. The outcome will result in a willingness to engage in understanding each others viewpoints and contribute to a well thought out volley of words. We want our viewpoints recognized, so minimize the use of the exclamation point, it rarely garners an exchange of words which contributes to civility and understanding.

Concise, honest, and compassionate writing along with prudent conversation helps cultivate the groundwork for humanity. Writing and speaking skills are a means of expressing our resourcefulness for ideas and a means to showcase our grammar. If one must use an exclamation point, do so in a manner that reflects excitability, civility, or in a way that transitions a persons attention to an urgent matter. and please one nail at the end is enough. The command of our English language has been hijacked by texting, using numbers for words, using individual letters for entire words, acronyms, and twisting of words. We have steadily slipped into the depths of limited vocabulary, limited knowledge of proper sentence structure, general withdrawal from proper english, and limited writing skills. Aside from that, resist the urge to pull the exclamation point out of the tool box because there are many other tools that can be used to drive home a statement.

Steve Cowgar

 

 

 

The Corrector And The Know It All

Habitual Correctors look for the slightest miscue to pounce on to assert their dominance with a gotcha moment in front of peers. Others can be Know It Alls who vehemently insist their perspective is the only way. These types of operatives are not pleasant and look at others as being unable to formulate anything that comes close to their intelligence.

Enter the constant Corrector of every perceived or real miscue a person makes and enter the Know It All who always has a better perspective on everything. We all know them, we have all been exposed to them. We do not and should never pretend to know it all.  Many of us are not professional authorities on specific topics with the exception of a few distinguished individuals. Our principles are usually based on our life experiences and our current understanding of what we are trying to convey.  It is possible to convey the wrong message, but to spring into action with constant interruptions, name calling, rudeness, or other attacks which assert superiority is unnecessary.  Sometimes critique can be quite helpful and enlightening when done with compassion, other times not so much, especially when it is forceful or quarrelsome.

Habitual Correctors look for the slightest miscue to pounce on to assert their dominance with a gotcha moment in front of peers. Others can be Know It Alls who vehemently insist their perspective is the only way. These types of operatives are not pleasant and look at others as being unable to formulate anything that comes close to their intelligence. Their mission is to assert control and belittle a person to the point of rudeness, disrespect, and sometimes to the point of violence? The Corrector and the Know It All are nauseating when they declare their way is the only way. Being full of arrogance and holding on to a sense of superiority over others vehemently interferes with the ability to be reasonable or to have a balanced conversation. We have all seen abrasive and toxic personalities destroy friendships and quell any meaningful exchange of ideas. The constant Correctors and Know It Alls have always been around, but todays environment seems to promote and encourage aggressive tactics which ignores the principles of manners, respect, and honor.

If one has witnessed or been the receiver of the pesky Corrector or Know It All, you understand it can be quite irritating and frustrating, yet it is liberating to know the high ground is available. The Correctors grunt with unending tirades of gotcha ya again and the arrogant Know It All rarely garners a compromise. Some of the best ways to deal with such behavior is to take a breath and quickly think about the meaning of life. The questions are, will this be a situation where I can bring some enlightenment, or are they bringing enlightenment which needs to be considered, is this a situation that is headed for no resolution? What will be the effect this Corrector or Know It All inflicts on me and is it worth getting caught up in? It’s ok to graciously excuse yourself from situations that became invasive, abrasive, and forceful. On the other hand, if a person is wrong and gets corrected or enlightened responsibly, there is no shame in willingly admitting a mistake.

There is no reason to become a victim to the Corrector or the Know It All who siphons the life out of everyone they come in contact with. Move on quickly and summons your spirituality, confidence, and strength to overcome remarks that forcefully seek to keep you in a prison. Meanwhile the Corrector and the Know It All revel in their superiority. They are one hundred percent convinced their assumed superiority is untouchable. Give them plenty of space, they will eventually end up in a vacuum where no friends exist. There will be no hot air for them to expel,  no wind to fill their lungs, nor an audience when they try to proclaim their victories.

Life is a continuing education, however some folks believe they know it all, they never progress past their ingrained ideologies. Most of us learn something different with each new dawn and incorporate that into our life, some don’t and that’s another story. I believe the majority of people have balanced conversations and exchange ideas in a respectful manner. There is no data available that confirms any of us get to the point where we are so perfect that we are ordained to constantly correct any and all miscues whether real or perceived. We never reach the point of being the perfect all knowing Know It All.  We are the ones in control of how we choose to react to situations that challenge our patience and perspective on anything. Never give anyone control of your values, morals, and honor because they will gobble you up like a vulture and leave the leftovers for the worms.

If a person calmly and reasonably states their case, they are bound to come out on top. Personal attacks rarely change opinions or generate camaraderie. Consider not responding further when attacks become overbearing, stick to your guns because the more a person continues the conversation, the Corrector and the Know It All will find an avenue to respond. If a person feels the need to correct or impart knowledge upon another, gently correct, do it wisely, do it with love, and please no explanation points are needed.

Feel free to correct me and if anyone knows it all, I would love to meet you. Never present yourself to be more than who your are, never be less than who you are, just be yourself. I bid you good day.

Steve Cowgar