Thursday, November 3, 2022

Problem Solving - The Important First Step

By Tim Gamble

Pastor Joe Fox, aka Viking Preparedness, did a Patreon video recently about problem solving. It got me to thinking, so I thought I would share some of my thoughts on problem solving with you. 

The first step - the most important step - in problem solving is recognizing that there is a problem. If you cannot, or will not, recognize a problem, you will never be able to solve it. This sounds simple, but it is where many (most?) people fail. 

There are a lot of reasons why people fail to recognize problems. Here are some types of folks who fail at that most important first step:

The Distracted - Most folks today are distracted by important things like their jobs, paying the bills, raising the kids, watching their favorite reality TV show, or playing doodle-jump on their I-Phone. When distracted, it is easy to not notice the problems and even dangers that may be lurking around you. It will take discipline, but learn to practice situational awareness, and this should be expanded to include what I call sociopolitical awareness (click the links to read these two article by me). 

The Fear-Bound - Some problems are scary. therefore some people simply refuse to think about those problems. Or they will deny that it could ever happen. Or they will say something along the lines of "If X does happen, we are all going to be dead anyway," and simply refuse to admit there is anything that can be done to deal that problem. In part, this is because modern society teaches people to emote, rather than to think. Our feelings rule us, rather than our reason. We were taught to emote, therefore we can learn to reason. But unlearning a bad habit and learning a good habit in its place requires time and effort. Put in the work. In part, it is also a matter of courage. Courage isn't about not being afraid. Courage is being able and willing to act even when we are afraid. For most of us, this doesn't come naturally. Like most things, it is a learned behavior. Put in the time and effort it takes to build courage. Step out of your comfort zone and start doing things that you find uncomfortable or scary.

The Slothful - Let' face it, some people are just plain lazy. They don't want to do anything that is difficult, uncomfortable, or painful (physically or otherwise). They are addicted to comfort, to good times, to fun, to plenty, to TV and video games and air conditioning... Well, you get my point. These folks don't want to see problems that may disturb their lifestyle of ease, so they don't. Overcome sloth by adjusting your priorates, learning the value of hard work, and acquiring discipline. 

The Sheeple - Sheeple look to others to solve our problems for us. Sheeple often don't recognize approaching problems because, to them, that is the job of government, authorities, and other experts. It is not their responsibility, so they rest easy knowing that Government protect them. If a problem does arise, they are sure those authorities to save the day.  And sheeple blindly follow their "official" advice no matter what, because they are the true experts, with nothing but the best intentions for us all. The past few years of lockdowns, facemasks, closed schools, and vaccination-mania has shown us how many Americans have learned to be sheeple. It is called "learned helplessness" (article). Don't be a sheeple. Don't look to government or experts to save you. In fact, don't blindly trust experts or the authorities. Use commonsense, and learn self-reliance instead. 

Blinded by Ideology - Many people are so brainwashed by their ideology that they refuse to see or accept anything that is contrary to their beliefs. In fact, they often demand "safe spaces" where they will never even be exposed to any contrary opinion or inconvenient  fact. Some will even demand that people be "cancelled" for holding different opinions and beliefs. Don't be an idealogue. Be open to hearing and considering contrary opinions. Be willing to admit when you are wrong. Adjust your thinking as necessary. 

Whistling Past the Graveyard - Some people actually see a problem, but they simply don't know what to do about it. They don't know how to solve it themselves, or they simply aren't motivated to find out on their own (shades of a sheeple). So, they ignore the problem, and hope it simply goes away on its own. This is an amazing amount of passivity, but many people suffer from it. When facing a difficult problem, rather than just ignoring it or passively accepting your fate, get aggressive in dealing it. Problems rarely solve themselves. Figure it out for yourself. Yes, this will take some time and effort on your part, but it is worth it. 

Take an honest look at yourself. Which of these categories do you fit? In order to survive what is coming, you need to be a problem solver. Even if nothing bad ever comes, to be really successful at life, you still need to be a problem solver. The most important first step is being able and willing to see problems. Get out of your comfort zone, and recognize all the problems and potential problems you are up against. Then start to handle them. You can do it! 

This is the first of what will probably be a multi-art series on problem solving. Please check back for future articles. Better yet, subscribe by email or social media to receive notifications of future articles (to subscribe, see below or near the top of the right-hand column). 

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