Thursday, July 25, 2013

Unseen Assumptions

Debating solutions is irrational, if goals are left unspoken in a kaleidoscope of unseen assumptions.
Loosing Track of Why
I have seen all to well my own addictions, searching for solutions to issues while I leave goals mired in fog. I have found this issue of ignoring the question of why, while obsessing over the options of how, very common. I wrote last year about one of the first times I really noticed a business conflict about solutions had not included goal identification.

As I hinted at earlier this week discussing conflict resolution methods; whys are the foundation for resolving our issues quickly and peacefully. I believe the importance of why is common knowledge, but so often we each are happy to sail past foundational questions and assumptions. Back in school, if we were asked to solve a math problem without being given all of the goals and parameters, we would be quick to point out the irrationality of the request.

Avoiding Why

Why helps us answer questions quickly. This is an asset if our goal is to move past an issue. But what if that is not our goal? What if our goal is to relish the pain of conflict, indecision, and anticipation? I can't deny the chemical releases of these feelings are definitely electrifying and have been studied to be addictive.

I know this very well first hand. For a decade I would find myself drawn to the flashlight isle of each Target or home store. I was enamored with the colors, options, features, and price points of the array of lighting choices. I had this nagging doubt about my preparedness for a power outage or nighttime search. I almost never purchased, but I relished the minutes I would spend looking. I was looking for a what; what flashlight would I need? But I was avoiding the why; why do I need a flashlight?

It turns out I never needed a flashlight. What I needed was a problem which had no solution. I needed the feeling which results from having lots of solutions and no basis to pick one. I also needed the feeling of pressure, of critical need that a solution must be picked.

As I have continued my journey of self-knowledge, I now know much more about what I was doing all those years. It has been hard won knowledge, and the answer is not pretty to face, but I am much more content and integrated as a result.

What repetitive behaviours do you perform which don't seem lead to any specific conclusion?

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