virgin islands scene

Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.
-- Theodore Roosevelt


Wednesday, July 22, 1998


Solutions are a big business. It sometimes seems that half the people in the world are selling solutions to this problem or that, while the other half are looking for an easy way out of their problems.

We must be wary of ready-made solutions. Applying a solution is not necessarily the same as solving a problem. Often, the solution is merely a quick fix, which addresses the symptom rather than the problem itself.

If we simply apply a ready-made solution, we fail to learn all that the problem has to teach. It is like looking up the answers in the back of your math textbook -- you get the problem “solved” but you miss the point of solving it.

A few months ago, I was getting a bad headache every few days. The “solution” that I arrived at, was to buy a pair of reading glasses and a big bottle of pain relief pills. Those things helped, but only after a trip to the emergency room did I realize the true problem -- I was consuming far too much caffeine. Once I actually solved the problem, by eliminating caffeine, the headaches went away completely, I started sleeping much better, and I threw away the reading glasses.

Solutions can be helpful, but they can also serve to avoid or cover up the true problem. Rather than merely finding a solution, take the responsibility and make the effort to solve the real problem.

— Ralph Marston

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Copyright ©1998 Ralph S. Marston, Jr. All Rights Reserved. The Daily Motivator is provided for your personal, non-commercial use only. Other than personal sharing, please do not re-distribute without permission.