Our lives are filled with hurdles. Now, you can see those barriers as a reason to quit, or you can see them as puzzles life is throwing at you for you to solve. I agree though that it is not always easy to see our problems as puzzles we can solve. I think it needs the right mindset. Good thing is that you can set your mind to it =).
To a large degree, this article is the result of a book and a recent conversation I had. The book I am talking about is Age of Swords and is the second installment of The Legends of the First Empire series by Michael J. Sullivan. One of the female characters is incredibly curious and invents all kinds of things. One statement she keeps repeating to herself is that there is always a better way. I am prone to agree with her. Maybe not always, but under certain conditions I think there are better ways.
What are those conditions?
I think there are some signals when we can find or at least want to find a better way. Dissatisfaction is such a signal. I think that when you feel dissatisfied with a situation there might be a better way. Sure, those need to be things we actually can change. If we try to change things we cannot change, we will suffer because we resist reality.
Let me share an example from work. At the moment I create video tutorials. The problem I was facing was that there seemed to be no perfect solution (or even a good one) to bring them onto the platform. I had a very specific idea how I wanted it to be and once I had this idea in mind, it was hard for me to go back to other solutions. In the end, I tried a couple of different things and finally I found the perfect solution. It would have been easy to give up, but I used my dissatisfaction to keep on looking.
Another signal might be that you are angry, sad or disappointed. Let’s say you are at odds with how the promotion process is working. Yes, often you might not have a say or even the power to change this, but this doesn’t mean there is no better way. Especially if many people feel similarly. I am still unsure. Maybe it is smarter to just accept this (going back to the things we can change or should accept). However, if many people feel the same way then it seems something is fundamentally wrong.
Now, the question is what exactly is wrong about this? Which of our values are violated? I think that if someone doesn’t feel appreciated enough then there is room for improvement. Now I know that you cannot simply promote everyone. But maybe the process is not transparent enough and that is why people don’t understand the decisions. Maybe the requirements are not clear. The key is that there should be a solution to make feel people appreciated.
What I want to say is that you shouldn’t give up easily. This might lead to resignation and apathy. At least try to change it, to solve that puzzle. This way you cannot blame yourself for remaining passive. And those were only two examples. I bet you know your situations where you have to decide to quit or to act.
I think this mindset: There is a better way can help us to stay curious and look for solutions.
Take care, Stephan