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Problems, Problems

Alan Smith

My daughter arrived home last week for her regular visit to wash her bedding.

30 years old and still comes home to wash her bed. I know. What the flip! Weird but I guess the fact that she seems to disappear off and reappear when it is neatly folded and clean has something to do with it.

She also told me that she had a strange noise coming from the front of her car. Nothing to worry about she said, she just turned up the radio. I offered to go and take a glance. She said, whatever. I went to take a look.

A quick drive around the block demonstrated to me that the brake pads had worn completely at the front, meriting an immediate, albeit too late trip to the garage.

“Shouldn’t drive with the pads like that” the mechanic told me. “Ruined the Discs mate. Going to be a big one”.

The trouble with life is that it tends to entropy. It is actually the second law of thermodynamics since you ask. Simply put things tend to fall apart into chaos over time.

The problem with problems is that we ignore them, which often is not the best way of dealing with them.

Why do we do that? Well, it is because we are worried about the worst and we stick our head in the sand, or because we just do not have the skills or processes to deal with them. It could be that we hope that time will make them go away. Sometimes that might even work. Experience suggests not that often. Don’t deal with them, and they get worse.

The truth is, and we all know this deep down in our hearts and minds, that really, we can’t run away from stuff. We can’t run from the taxman, the wrong relationship, our parents, the co-worker or boss we dislike, the bills we have, the contract that is no longer working, the price rise we need to impose and so on and so on.

No matter where we might try to run or hide, our problems are still going to be right there with us. They will follow us. Until we find a methodology or way to deal with challenges, things will never change.

Many years ago, I accompanied a client to a sales call as an observer. Ostensibly the call was to talk about a price increase that had to be made to cover increased costs. The price rise was never mentioned. I asked the sales guy why? He said the meeting was going too well and he didn’t want to spoil it if the other side said no!

Managing through problems or conflicts is both a business and real-life skill, and one that can be honed by recognising both its existence and its validity as a method of so doing. No is not the end of the discussion, but the beginning. Ask any 3-year-old.

Dealing with what life throws at us is what grown-ups do. Or obliging parents.

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