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MAKE IT MANAGEABLE: Dissecting it, seeking a third party's opinion or just sleeping on it all helps
PROBLEMS, whether they are big or small, plague us. Some of us have inherited the worry-wart gene and we get uptight unless we can fix the problem within a certain time frame. Problem solving gurus teach us that we must dissect a big problem into tiny bits, then solve the tiny problems, one by one. Figuratively it sounds logical, yet to do that is literally a problem in itself.
Perspective is also an interesting facet to consider. A problem may seem humongous to a child but if he relates it to an adult, then the problem can actually be very miniscule. That is where good communication comes in: between a parent and a child or between a student and a teacher. The person who is not afflicted by the problem can be more objective as his emotions are not entangled within the problematic web.
A student once came up to me and was upset that her idea for a group business project was not well-received by the rest of the group. She had always been the leader of the pack but she had just joined this new discussion group and she has not been "proven" yet. There was already another leader in the group who had been there since the group started and his idea was well-received.
So, I advised her to take another stance -- to go along with the established leader and learn new things instead, while assuring her that in no way was her idea lesser in value than the one agreed upon. With some reluctance, she took my advice.
Two months down the line when the project was making headway, I caught up with her again and asked about the progress of the project. She was beaming and said it was going very well, and she was happy.
She said she also learnt a lot about herself in the process, the good and bad, as she worked alongside the new teammates.
Her idea might not have been the one chosen by the group but she had learnt other life lessons, the most important being, sometimes we lead and sometimes we follow. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Either way, we are still learning and we can excel in whatever we do.
How many of us actually realise that a huge problem can look smaller when we have had a good night's sleep?
I can think of numerous occasions when the big black cloud loomed over my nights as I tossed and turned wondering how to solve a problem.
Most times, when I wake up the next day, the problem did not seem so big after all. Better still, through some miraculous means, in the cold light of day, the problem had solved itself.
The funny thing about solving problems is we sometimes try every method when the answer lies right beneath our noses.
Let me illustrate this with the common problem of foot pain.
It is a sad thing when you discover that you have foot pain. It is even sadder when you do not know the cause of the pain.
Like an unwelcome guest, foot pain gradually catches up with the senior citizens of the feminine fraternity.
Reasons often linked to foot pain are ill-fitting shoes, wearing stilettos when younger, falls and sport injuries.
Truth be told, I have subjected my poor feet to all of them. Sometimes, well-meaning older folk tell us that "wind" might have something to do with the aches.
So, we try pain-relief drugs and alternative cure-all remedies like reflexology, traditional medicated ointments, poultice and wraps but the pain stubbornly refuses to go away. Now, that is a problem.
Having exhausted all possible remedies, a pragmatic person told me: if the foot hurts, see a foot doctor a.k.a. a podiatrist.
Now, why did I not think of that in the first place?
I googled for a reliable podiatrist and made an appointment. Strangely, for such mysterious foot pain, the answer was simple enough. It all had to do with posture and the need for orthotics. Imagine all the months of needless pain if I only had the right diagnosis sooner.
So for now, the country walking trails are on the top of my to-do list again this summer!