“Why don’t these idiots just fix the problem?! The solution is simple! Good grief!”
I’ll bet you’ve heard those words uttered in frustration, and maybe even said or thought them yourself. I know that I have. It can seem so clear some days. H. L. Mencken tells us that, “For every complex problem, there is a simple solution. And it is wrong.” What a masterful sentence, capturing in nine words the state of affairs in our very complex lives, individually, in our work and in society. Just about all of us can see the problems, and how complex they really are. And we have solutions…often simple ones, easy to understand, and maybe easy to execute. Yet, it really is not so easy. And if truth be told, our easy solutions are wrong…dead wrong. My solution will likely be very different than yours, and yours different than mine. Now what do we do? Argue for our solution? Or give way to the other? This “either/or” thinking leads to polarization, destructive competition and alienation. And the problem does not get solved.
Perhaps there is another way…perhaps we can find a third alternative! We’ll never know, unless we are willing to engage in dialogue, listen to one another, and work together to find new solutions. But it requires letting go of our “simple solution”, and being willing to be influenced.
Are you willing to be influenced?