Problem Solving Makes My Problems Worse

Basic human problems can have no final solutions.

It's nice to have no problems
It’s nice to have no problems

Eric Hoffer, The Temper of Our Time (1967)

I love problems. Give me a disaster in my house I can sit down and solve that. Calling the right people, or getting the materials to fix it, fixing it or helping other fix it. All those actions take time and focus. They give me a sense of purpose, an immediate result (it’s fixed). My ego loves these things. But the important problems that really need to be addressed go unsolved, like: spiritual growth, working on my health, engaging in writing or other artistic endeavors (to name a few, I could go on at length).

Those problems suck. I hate working on those things, because they are long, involved, difficult, and often have no conclusion. Thus I find myself hoping for short small distinct problems, so that I can avoid my bigger long standing problems. Unfortunately now that I’m no longer in a day-to-day job the acute problems are not as plentiful. Everyone who works has ample opportunity to solve those little “critical” work problems and put off the longstanding more difficult ones (whether they be personal or job related).

Our complex cluttered world, rife with work problems and home problems, gives us ample opportunity to feel busy. Ample opportunity to fool ourselves into believing we are fixing “things”. Which assuages our fear of tackling the bigger more difficult problems in our lives. Unfortunately these little problems are mere distractions making our real problems worse.

I’m going to endeavor to start working on these bigger problems, one little step at a time. That way I’ll be able to make some progress. The funny thing is whenever I do this I feel much better. We humans are problem solvers, big or little, we enjoy fixing things. The trick is not to forget the joy that comes, even in small steps taken towards fixing the big problems.

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