Sunday, 11 January 2009

Problem-Solving: Get to the Heart of the Matter

Sometimes we over-complicate matters. For instance, yesterday morning I noticed that the battery for my computer was not charging. I checked the connection of the power cable to the computer and it seemed fine.

Then I realised that there was no electricity flowing through the power adapter. I read this to mean that either something was wrong with the power adapter or something was wrong with the cable. I surmised that there was a fault with the power adapter. There was of course another reason why I experiencing this particular problem but, at the time, I didn't think of this.

Anyway, I contacted my brother who advised me of places I could try to get the computer parts I thought I needed. However, after I finished speaking to him I had another look at the cable and, in particular the plug. I thought that maybe the fuse in the plug needed replacing and if this was indeed the case I should check this out before going further.

Now it so happens that there is a small hardware store very near to where I'm living so I went there and was told by the manager that while he didn't stock what I was looking for the shop next door did. Unfortunately, they were not open yet. Then for some reason I started to explain in greater detail the problem I was experiencing before I had simply asked he sold fuses. The manager asked if this problem had just occurred this morning I replied yes and he told me that there was a electricity cut.

I burst out laughing. Here I was worrying about the time, energy and expense I would have to go through to get my computer up and running again when the reason I wasn't getting power to my computer was because there was none! I discovered later that it was quite a widespread power cut.

There are several lessons to be learnt from this experience. One is that we often make issues more complicated than they need be and worry about things we simply don't need to worry about. When this happens we:

1. Expend energy needlessly without any positive gains,

2. Dissipate our energy with the result that our power is weakened, and

3. Direct our energy to the wrong things so the real problem remains unresolved.

The other lesson to be learnt is that to effectively solve any problem we have to get to the heart or root of the problem and fix that. At best, we may be able to find temporary solutions but they will be just that - temporary. However, it is also likely that you'll end up going around in circles, never resolve the situation and end up accomplishing nothing.

When faced with a problem always consider the heart or root of the problem. It can be daunting at first but you may be pleasantly surprised to see how straightforward the solution is.

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