What is the final solution? It sounds so absolute and final. Is it a good or a bad choice? Sometimes we don’t know. But how do you know what a good decision is? Boy, that’s a million-dollar question and one that many of you ask when faced with a tough decision.
There are so many different ways to solve one problem. So often we look down the middle and see only one solution. But there may be many options available.
I learned early in life well not so early but in my 30’s that there really are many solutions to a problme. When I was faced with some very hard times I had to find solutions to difficult issues. All I could see was one answer.
Until one day I decided to write down all of my options. When I did so I came up with 4 or 5 solutions. But only one was a good one and the others were bad. Then when I looked into the problem deeper I wondered is it good or bad? I am talking about the solution. Is it good or bad?
So if the solutions were all bad I still had to choose one of them. I had to take a look at all of them and decide which one of the bad ones were a good one.
One of my favorite personal quotes is, “There are many solutions to a problem, they may not all be good ones, but they are solutions.” So, when someone tells me they don’t have a solution what they are really saying is they don’t have a good solution.
Let’s talk bout a scenario. It is a fictitious story but one that I believe will help clear the good and bad options to a problem.
You are going to a friend’s house for dinner. And this is how it plays out.
You am so excited! You have not seen each other in over a month. As you back out of my drive and head down the road, you start thinking about sitting on the deck with your BFF after dinner and having a drink. You really love spending time with her because time stands still and you talk continually about nothing and everything. The two of you are true lifelong BFF’s.
Tonight is a special night. She has something to tell you, and you don’t have a clue what it is. As your mind wonders remembering the good times you have had you abruptly run upon a road block.
Your thoughts come to an immediate halt and so does your car. The little bridge up ahead is covered with water from the recent downpour. How will you get to her house?
The chilled wine and appetizers in my car that won’t stay perfect for very long.
There has to be a solution. So you back up and head to an alternative route. But the real dilemma comes when you have to make a decision which route you will take. You remember three different roads you can take.
As you turn around, all of your options come to mind. None of them make you happy. It isn’t’ an ideal situation but you realize that rarely are problems ideal.
One of the three other routes also has a bridge, but it will take me there on time. Do I take a chance on the second bridge? The second route has no bridge, I will only be ten minutes late, but the roads are more dangerous. The third way will put me behind 25 minutes, but it may get me there safely.
There is a fourth option to go back home and eat all of the appetizers and drink all the wine. But I will miss my BFF!
I chose a very simple problem to make my point. As you can see, there are five options to this obstacle. I could be so busy looking at the closed bridge that I just stop there and become immobile. I could be so anxious to get there that I take a chance on another bridge closing or take a dangerous road. I could take a long way around, but I would be late. Or I could just give up altogether and go back home.
This problem has solutions. Not all are good ones, but each one will accomplish the goal I set out to do except giving up.
When you have a problem that seems like an insurmountable force, step back and take a look at all of your options. There is always a way. If you only look ahead and down the middle, you may miss an altogether good solution to a difficult problem.
Remember that you may have to choose an answer that is not what you had in mind, but it may make your life easier down the road.