Do Problems That Are Avoided Require No Solving?
“Please, if you are unsure of what to do, ask me. It’s generally easier to avoid a problem than solve a problem.”
Recently, my granddaughter was at our house and she asked me if she could use the computer to print a resume′. I responded with a yes and then followed with the above quoted statements. The minute I said them, I thought to myself, “where did that come from?” I made the statements, yet I don’t remember having thought seriously about how the avoidance of a problem is easier than solving a problem.
Of course, I am aware of statements like the one from Benjamin Franklin – “an ounce of precaution is worth a pound of cure.” Franklin’s statement is closely related to the one I made, but tends to be directed more to health problems.
So, how can I put my statements together and have it as short and precise as Benjamin Franklin’s?
“Avoiding a problem is usually easier than solving a problem.”
“To avoid or to solve a problem, which is better?”
“Avoiding problems is better than solving problems.”
“Avoiding a problem – no problem, solving a problem – a problem.”
“An ounce of avoidance is worth a pound of solution.”
“Problems that are avoided, require no time solving.” I think I like this last one. It’s definitely short and says no more, or no less than what I wanted to say to my granddaughter.
“Problems that are avoided, require no time solving.” Is the statement true? Absolutely – we don’t have to solve a problem that doesn’t exist, or do we?
Is there ever a situation where we solve problems that don’t exist? I don’t know about you, but I’ll admit that I do worry sometimes about problems that don’t exist, and yes, I spend time thinking about their solutions. In fact, now that I think more about it, I have spent a lot of time solving problems that don’t exist. For example, last Summer I was concerned about what to do if a hurricane would threaten our vacation on Hilton Head Island. I, in my mind, began solving the problem by considering where we would stay inland and “ride the storm out.” Keep in mind, at the time I was solving the problem, the only hurricane that existed was in the Pacific Ocean and Hilton Head Island is in the Atlantic. What was I thinking?!!!
Ok, so should we spend time solving problems that don’t exist? No, if it is a problem as exemplified in the previous paragraph. But, yes, in the spirit of using our thinking to imagine implications and consequences of actions that we might take both physically and mentally. In that sense, we might be wise to spend time solving the different problems that we imagine in order to see which action(s) we should take. An example of this kind of problem-solving is experienced when we play chess. Another example is when we have a “brain-storming” session.
So, is the statement, “Problems that are avoided, require no solving,” still a worthwhile one with a good message? I think it is, provided it is used as a guide and not as fundamental principle. Metaphorically, it’s like a good teacher who is the “guide on the side and not the sage on the stage.”
What do you think about avoiding problems instead of solving them?