Friday, February 22, 2013

Solving Puzzles–Follow the Breadcrumbs

As the world’s challenges continue to be highlighted by the media, whether it be global warming, the ongoing dilemma in Syria, the sabre rattling in North Korea, the ongoing scandal in the Vatican, the global economic doldrums, etc., many people continue to ask two questions:

1. Why is this happening in the world?

2. Why don’t we seem to be doing anything about them (or why is so little progress being made)?

The truth is that they are difficult to solve because we are ignoring a basic principle.

We are not nullifying the difficulties at their source.

Think of the analogy of a poorly maintained automobile.  If the owner chooses to not change the oil as prescribed by the manufacturer, eventually the owner will notice that the car runs a lot rougher and vibrates excessively when driven.  They may also notice that the noise emanating from the exhaust is a lot louder than it used to be.

The solution on first blush may be to install new tires to help it run smoother on the road or to replace the exhaust system with one that suppresses noise better.

In fact, ignoring the fact that the engine is the source of both issues is an invitation to spend a lot of money on the wrong solutions and the car will eventually fail.

Identifying the REAL problem

The world is like that also.

Too many people are attempting to solve its problems by tackling the symptoms directly.

Instead, they should follow the breadcrumbs from the symptoms back to the sources of the problems.

It is generally accepted that every problem in the world afflicts some percentage of the world.

But it is also true that every problem in the world, bar none, benefits a certain percentage of the world also.

And if you want to know why we seem to be so slow in solving problems, then we first need to determine who benefits from the problems not being solved. 

Once one knows who benefits, one needs to analyze the individuals or organizations who benefit to get an understanding of the nature of the benefit and what motivates their behaviour in relation to this benefit.

Use questions like “why?” and “how do I know?” to validate one’s assumptions at every stage of the investigation.

Once one has an understanding of this motivation, then one will know why the world is the way it is and what needs to be done to negate the challenges in the world.

A warning

Be aware that undertaking any quest to solve the world’s difficulties comes with four warnings:

1. You may not like what you see - you may become angry, disappointed or frightened by what you uncover.

2. The people who hold the answers to your queries are people with significant power, influence and motivation who won’t give up their advantage easily.

3. If you decide to continue on your quest anyway, you may be called to stretch your courage and creativity beyond anything you have ever experienced. Few are sufficiently prepared to deal with the information they so passionately sought once said information is in-hand.

4. You may become tempted to become part of the problem instead of becoming part of the solution, becoming beguiled by the baubles that such temptation offers. While many deny this would happen to them, we all have our price.

So within the context of these warnings comes a complex question.

Do you really want to help solve the world’s challenges, do you prefer to sit and complain about them and do nothing (waiting for someone else to solve them) or do you prefer to sit in ignorant bliss of your responsibility to make the world a better place?

The paradox with how you answer the question is that your choice determines how easy or difficult your Life will be now … and ironically …. how easy or difficult your Life and the Life of generations to come will be.

Choosing an easier Life now, the one chosen by most people, often creates a more difficult Life later and vice versa.

And therein compounds the difficulties being experienced in the world.

Fortunately or unfortunately, difficulties require correction and correction eventually arrives …..

…. either by our own hand and somewhat within our control

…. or in another form.

Which form do you prefer?

Think about your family and the people close to you and then ask yourself the question again.

What does the answer compel you to do?

In service and servanthood,


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