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Dealing with people who find a problem in every solution

By G. Balasubramanian

Have you ever met a person who could find a problem in every solution? I have seen a few of them. At the outset I always extend my sympathies to them without any reservation. But sometimes, whether in office, or in public life or at home, when you come across such a person, you do find it difficult to handle them for some time. All that they need is our understanding and support because they have faced one or the other challenge in life. They have the unique capacity of seeing darkness in the light. They see the wheels of all engines failing or breaking down somewhere or the other. Therefore, they hesitate to be comfortable with their own self. The major problem they face is their perception of the self.

Let me introduce to Mr. Anirudh. He was an excellent colleague of me, quite knowledgeable. But every time you discuss some program or some issue with him, he will come out with a series of problems that could be faced in executing the same. And if someone gives him a solution or an alternate route to execute the same, he could put before a score of problems that could arise in the alternate route too. And for the solution, he would find the seeds of the next problem. If forced, you will find the droplets of moisture on the tail end of the eyes. Though the individual was a good man, possibly he suffered from some fear of taking or facing challenges.

Raghav was a very intelligent man. But he always suffered from a sense of anxiety and stress. Even in doing some easy and stress-free jobs, he had an art of creating stress. He could put any order into a disorder and stand in the midst with stress. He would reach out at least once in the quarter of the year to his boss with a request for the change of seat, change of position. But he could see a problem in each of the offerings. I recall when he was posted in one of the comfortable seats for him, he stayed in the position for nearly a year. But one could see that every month on the last day when the salary disbursement comes and the cheques must be signed, he would go on leave. He told of one of his friends “Why take risk by signing the cheques? If something happens you are in trouble.”

Simi’s boss is a very patient and understanding person. When she enters his room for any discussion, he starts with the question “Simi, what problem are you carrying on your head today?” She just laughs and says, “The problem today is that all my problems are in their solitude”.

When closely examined, people who find a problem in each solution carry a defeatist mindset with them. Fearing a challenge, a roadblock or grave on the way, they feel that they should escape from the situation. They fail to approach problems with a different perspective. They need support motivation and suggestions for change of perspectives to problem solving.

A few others, suffering from low learnability, find each problem beyond their comprehension, even if they could handle. They have anticipatory fear and feel they have lower skills, lower talents and lower competencies. They are unwilling to upgrade and even try out possibilities.

Sometimes when people encounter problems, think they need an extra-ordinary intelligence for problem solving. Considering themselves as non-recruits to that universe, they tend to stay out of the problem area as a safety measure. It is always not necessary for a problem to be out of any scalable magnitude. They may, sometimes, project themselves as a dinosaur on the move, but the solutions could be a simple treatment like that of a band-aid. Malcolm Gladwell, the celebrated author writes in his book ‘The Tipping Point’ – “The Band-Aid is an inexpensive, convenient, and remarkably versatile solution to an astonishing array of problems. In their history, Band-Aids have probably allowed millions of people to keep working or playing tennis or cooking or walking when they would otherwise have had to stop. The Band-Aid solution is actually the best kind of solution because it involves solving a problem with the minimum amount of effort and time and cost.”

In many cases, problem creators do not understand that the problem lies with them. It is said proverbially “If you are a problem creator, don't search solution from others because you are the solution.”

A few in each organization do not find the way to solve a problem, because they are unable to understand the problem itself. Says, the famous essayist, G.K. Chesterton "It isn't that they cannot find the solution. It is that they cannot see the problem."

I have seen a few friends who feel happy to stay with the problem than finding the solution because they have a sustained opportunity to tell people “I am always in the midst of some problem”.