How to Fix a Problem You Don’t Have….and Create a Bigger One!

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Quick fixes.  Groupthink. Becoming a Sheep.  These are issues we all need to deal with effectively.  We don’t.

I see it everywhere.  People that are solving problems they don’t have, in response to something they read, heard, or saw, without thinking first if they actually need the solution.

The examples range from the basic and humorous to the complex and painful.

The picture above is one of the former variety.

I believe the “reasoning” was such:

New floor, new chair, must need some protection.

As you can see the “solution” was something that wasn’t designed for this “problem”.  Worse yet the “problem” didn’t exist because the chair came with a plastic insert designed to protect the floor it sits on.  Maybe the person didn’t think the plastic was sufficient?

O.K. it needs felt.  Add felt.  Wrong.  Now the floor is F’d up…and the cause?  The adhesive on the felt!!!!  Damn it!!

It was the easy thing to do, adding that felt.  But in reality it complicated the situation and made matters worse.  Haven’t we all felt victim to this kind of reasoning?

Maybe the situation was outside our expertise, maybe we didn’t have the time to analyze it, maybe some expert told us that how to do it “right”.

For this particular issuse I don’t think these explain it though.  It’ not complicated, I doubt there was any urgency or time constraint.  Was there someone that proclaimed themselves an “expert” on this?  If so, that should have been a red-flag to begin with!

So what happened?

Only a few options left. Laziness or Ego. (btw, sometimes Laziness is Ego in disguise)

Either way the scene should have gone like this assuming that the felt was needed (probably not but just for kicks).

INT. KITCHEN – DAY

A scraggly faced WRITER (mid 40s), jeans, t-shirt, and flip-flops, stands over an overturned chair and holds a felt sticky pad in his hand.

EGO
This fits right?

ME
Nope.

EGO
Stick it on anyway right?

ME
No.

EGO
I’ll just cut the felt?

ME
No, we don’t have anything that will cut it accurately.

EGO
(thinking)
Hmmmm.

ME
Hey, what about removing the plastic?

EGO
Novel idea. It’s just stuck in there like a nail anyway, duh.

ME
Now the felt has a good surface to adhere to, and it’s smaller than the leg so it won’t show!

EGO
God I’m smart!

Nice work Genius. Replace something that doesn’t seem like it’s working with something that you think will work great.  Don’t just keep adding things in hopes it will avoid a screwed up floor…it won’t.  Trial and error is not the best approach.

We all do this.  I do it.  I think a lot of people trying something new do it quite a bit.  We are lazy or the task is so simple our Ego causes us to screw it up because we won’t ask for help.

Writing can be like that.  There are experts everywhere but rather than really engage and ask for help, we read their blog, twitter feeds, and books.  We add this, add that, and move our crap around.  We try everything that comes our way in hopes that it will “fix” our novel, script, dare I say “life”.  It won’t.

What will fix it is removing the components that don’t work and replacing them with ones that do.  You can attempt that via trial and error…but you might just scratch the shit out of your floor before you get it right.

Work hard. Analyze the situation. Don’t grasp at simple solutions.  Identify YOUR shortcomings and really fix them.  Sometimes it’s not fun, in fact it’s painful, but you will get a much better result, faster, and without the scars.

Ask for help.  Real help, not quick fixes or easy solutions.  It will pay off.

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