Are you in love with your problem?

January 31 2013

A few months ago, I found myself in a room with Seth Godin and a small group of eager entrepreneurs. Seth posed the following question:

 “Are you so in love with your problem you’re unwilling to try an imperfect solution?”

This prompted me to wonder how many situations I’ve refused to relinquish control, choosing instead to hold out for that perfect, golden answer that would fix everything in one fell swoop. This refuse to settle mantra has gotten in my way and prevented me from taking steps concrete steps of action.

I know I’m not the only one.

Looking around the room that day, every attendee had scrawled their own dilemmas onto scraps of paper. It may come as no surprise that every one of these problems had a solution that another attendee could devise. It wasn’t that any of these attendees were unexperienced, unintelligent, or unmotivated. Quite the opposite.

It can be easier to hold onto a problem than attempt a resolution that might fail.

We come up with hundreds of reasons why we shouldn’t or can’t, so we don’t. We develop relationships with the problem itself, telling ourselves stories that may or may not be true. We believe our inner dialogue (“It just can’t be done.”), electing inaction over failure and fear. Only the very best for our problems, nothing less!

Of course, we’re able to consider another’s issue with relative calm. As outsiders, we lack the emotional connection and historical weight that the owner carries. We use our own fresh eyes to create probable solutions with creativity and ease, even wondering what the fuss was about in the first place.

Then we arrive at our own obstacles (or put them off for as long as possible), and we’re stuck.

I’d like to ask you the same:

Are you willing to try something that might not work?