The problem with problems



All right, time for some real talk.

Not everything you run into is a problem to solve.

Even if it is a problem, it's usually not yours to solve. Especially not without asking first.

Worse, even when it's your problem to solve, not all problems have a solution. Some only have partial, approximate solutions. Others, none. None at all.

I blame school. School puts into our heads this idea that all problems have exactly one solution, that we can find neatly explained at the end of the manual if we get stuck. And that we must solve every problem. Why? Teacher said so!

More generally, we're all taught from a young age that we're oh so smart and can figure out anything. And maybe that wouldn't be so bad if we weren't also taught to be nosy and meddle into everyone else's life. Except our own.

Of course we are. That way it's not us who suffer the consequences for getting it wrong. While when you fall down and it's your fault, it hurts twice.

And so, everyone is in this perpetual rush to prove their worth by being the fly in every ointment.

Mothers. Techies. Politicians. Tone it down already. You're killing us. For real.

All too often, the most help you can offer someone is to get out of the way. Mom taught me that. Moms can be wise.

Oh, and if you're going to actively solve problems? Offer material solutions, not pie-in-the-sky stuff that would do little good (and considerable harm). If you could deliver that is.

Problems are real. We are real. Deal with reality or else leave us alone.


Tags: philosophy, education