A friend of mine told me of an incident that happened as he sat in the parking lot of a grocery store as he was waiting for his friend to return from picking up a few items in the store. While he sat there, he noticed that several people went to get a shopping cart but found that they couldn’t pull them apart because they were all stuck together. Rather than do anything about it, they just shrugged their shoulders and walked away. As he observed this happen several times, he was amazed that no one took the time to pull the carts apart.
Finally, my friend got out of his car and went over to find out the problem and discovered that it was no big deal. There were just a couple of baskets that were overlapping each other making it hard to separate them. He fixed the shopping carts and got back in his car. Thanks to my friend, the next person who came to get a cart had the opportunity of getting one without any difficulty. My friend saved the day!
The thing that was so amazing was how easily people gave up and did not even try to solve the problem. Rather than focusing on why the shopping carts were stuck and looking for a solution, every one of them just walked away leaving the problem for someone else to fix. What do you think you might have done?
My friend said that experience taught him a great lesson about human nature – basically, that people give up too easily; they give up too quickly; and they give up too soon. He said that because he thinks in terms of solutions, he was willing to go over and tackle the “huge problem” of pulling the shopping carts apart. And, it really was not much of a problem at all since it only required about fifteen seconds to look at the situation, determine the problem, and find a solution. He laughed and said, “I guess the reason I found the solution is because I was looking for one!”
That incident should make each of us question whether we are problem-conscious or solution-conscious. If we are problem-conscious, we will tend to give up very quickly and easily. However, if we are solution-conscious, we will stay with the situation longer trying to resolve the challenge that we are facing while looking for a way to solve the dilemma.
Now, I realize that you may think, “Oh, my gosh! This is making such a big deal out of nothing!” Yet, I want to challenge you to begin noticing how easily people give up when faced with the difficulties of life. Watch how quickly they tend to throw up their hands and walk away from a problem because they simply do not want to deal with it. I think it is because they are focused on the problem rather than finding the solution. Someone once said, “Knowledge is knowing there is a problem. Wisdom is finding the solution.”
We all face difficult situations on a daily basis, whether in business, with family, dealing with auto repairs or home maintenance issues, challenges in our personal relationships or our spiritual life. The list is unending. However, I have found that if I want to be successful in any area of my life, I need to stay focused on trying to find a solution for whatever problem I am facing. It will not be long before that same problem-solving skill will come to my rescue in another area of life as well.
So, this week if you find yourself in a situation like that with the shopping carts, I want to challenge you to be the one to find a solution. It will not only benefit you, but could show kindness to others as well, just as my friend did. Besides, you can smile knowing that you are solution-conscious, not problem-conscious. This skill and attitude will set you apart from the crowd. Cream always rises to the top! I promise you that it won’t be long before another area of your life is richly rewarded because you were willing to deal with a small issue rather than give up easily, quickly, or too soon! Rock on this week!
Tip: Unstick the shopping carts!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm