The Parking Lot
Not too long ago, we were adding a person to our staff and I went to Fred who ran our office building to ask where our new person should park. He said, “Well, that’s going to be problematic.” To which I said, “What’s the problem?” Fred looked at me and pulled his glasses down and paused before speaking. With a dead-panned face he said “I didn’t say it was a problem. I said it was problematic. There is a huge difference. You see everyone can park, but sometimes you might not be able to park in your assigned space. If someone is in your space, then park in the visitors spot or find someone else’s space that isn’t being used. It will generally get resolved as the day goes on.” Fred was right. It wasn’t perfect, but we all worked it out and there was never any big “problem” with this slightly imperfect system. No one was ever seriously inconvenienced.
After this, I started noticing all sorts of opportunities to replace the word problem with problematic-which is more appropriate most of the time. There is usually a solution when less than perfect situations arise. This slight change in thinking can really shift your perspective in big ways, as most situations have a reasonably good solution.
So, next time you find yourself frustrated with a problem….don’t sweat the little stuff…and most of it is little stuff. Break through stagnation by shifting to “problematic” mode and come up with the easiest solution possible. Try that idea out, and see if it works. If that doesn’t work, go to the next easiest solution. Small actions are usually much better than inaction.