Seth’s Blog is a treasure trove of insight where author and marketing strategist Seth Godin shares his musings with the internet. In a recent post entitled ‘Working with problems’, Godin considers when problem-solving is possible, and when a situation requires a different approach.
Regarding problems that won’t go away, he writes:
First, is it a problem or a situation? Problems, by definition, have solutions. You might not like the cost of the solution, the trade-offs it leads to, or the time and effort it takes, but problems have solutions.
On the other hand, situations don’t. Situations are simply things we need to live with.
If your predicament turns out to be a situation, Godin advises you to move on, rather than keep directing energy towards the source of stress.
The second question Godin asks us to consider is: ‘Has anyone else ever solved a problem like this one in a useful way?’ If yes, we can learn from those who have gone before us and defer to the experts. If not, then we are likely dealing with a situation.
Third, if the problem has been around for a while, it might not be an easy problem. Those tend to get solved right away. It’s probably a problem that involves more effort or trade-offs than you were hoping for. Resetting our expectations for what it might take to solve gives us the chance to recalibrate it as a situation we’re willing to live with, simply because the cost of the solution is too high.
This is where your own judgement comes into play – you want to solve the problem, but at what cost? Solving the problem in a way that feels right will likely require some commitment – you’ll need to invest time in finding a proper solution.
As a final word of advice, Godin says:
And finally, some problems get better if we’re willing to talk about them. Some situations, on the other hand, simply get worse when we focus our energy and community on them.
It’s important to be reminded that some situations are impossible to solve, but we are used to solving problems, and we have the patience to see things through. In other words, if there is a solution out there, we will find it.
So, if you have branding problems, talk to us, and we’ll see what we can do.
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