“People in distress will sometimes prefer a problem that is familiar to a solution that is not. “ – Neil Postman, Professor at New York University, Author
I shared this quote with my employees a couple weeks back. I got this quote from a business book but I feel this can be applied to most daily things in life. I can’t help to think that often we circle back to a familiar problem when we ignore the unfamiliar solution. At some point in our lives we either encounter someone who encountering the same problem.
For example there are some people who face financial problems so they work more, but choose to still keep their lavish life style. There are some people who aim to lose weight, but continue to eat regularly or do not exercise. Some of those people may have legitimate reasons but if we truly look in them, its just simplest excuses to avoid the unfamiliar solutions.
Insanity is doing the same thing expecting different result. This is not improvement on it self but just stagnation that doesn’t get anywhere. It may be someone or even you doing this. These people might be telling themselves that its okay that they are tackling the same problem because they are able to easily answer it, but it doesn’t provide progress. Be associated with the unfamiliar, take a different approach to a problem, and look at it a different way. You may find that answer you always wanted to a problem you been trying to solve.
At the same time, we aren’t able to arrive the an unfamiliar solution unless we ask an unfamiliar question. Instead of asking why your having financial problems, what can you cut in your life to allow you to save. Or why you can’t lose weight, but how can I manage my daily life for a better life style. In business, often we ask someone else perspective, and often this drive innovation. Same in life, we might need someone’s observation to allow us to find that unfamiliar question. Be comfortable with the unfamiliar.
P.S. So the picture is suppose to be that classic riddle. You got lost while hiking through the woods when you come across two doors with two guards. There is sign says that one door leads to the way out of the woods another leads to your death. The sign also says that the magical guards, one always tells a lie while the other tells a truth. It additionally says that you are only allowed to ask one question. What do you do?