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.

A brief intro about how I formulated this article. It came straight from the events in my own life with a touch 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, 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. 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 your 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. Remember, the same kind of thinking that created a problem will not work to solve the problem. 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.

We can look at someone else’s life and think wow, 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 when 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.