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Spend more time on the solution than on the problem

When Oriental or Native American wisdom speaks, it is convenient to pay attention. If both coincide in their thinking, then it is compulsory to stop and listen as we need to in this case. Both philosophies – which speak with different accents but with the same tone – teach us to spend more time on the solution than on the problem.

It needs to be made clear that this sentence must not be understood as an invitation to turn a blind eye and to lapse into levity whenever we meet a drawback – the idea behind this message is completely the opposite. Time needs to be spent on a problem and it might need several reassessments. Only by understanding it and appreciating all its angles can it really be solved. Once the clock has been stopped at this point, then the rest of the time needs to be dedicated to finding the solution. Because as we are always being told, if it is a problem it is because it has a solution, and if there is no solution then it cannot be a problem. It might be many other things, but it is not a problem. In the one case you don’t need to worry too much and in the other you don’t need to worry at all.

At another humane and more modern level – although perhaps this does not provide us with much wisdom – in this part of the world we tend to put up a tent and camp out at each problem we encounter whether it deserves it or not. We explore the problem both from the north and the south, and then east and west and we go backwards and forwards without finding it and without having penetrated its armour, rather as though it was some kind of Stockholm syndrome. It looks as though we prefer to stick with the problem we know, rather than the solution we haven’t discovered yet. It’s as though only by adding a few degrees of masochism can we reach the desired temperature and then settle down to a life that although gives us pain will never be painful. Neither will it be a life of resignation. We were born to live – however long that may be – and we need to take the rough with the smooth.

Take no notice of the lures and seductions given out by a problem to make us tie ourselves to it and stay with it for life. Although the problem will try and make us think otherwise, it will never shelter us and outside will never be as cold as inside. Its only ability is to kidnap us. This is where we find the challenge facing us all – each of us has our own challenges and naturally our own are the more important. Whoever spends more time looking for a solution will be nearer to resolving a problem. And whoever gets used to resolving it, will live in a very special place: the solution.

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