By Jill E. Wolforth
A couple weeks ago, Samantha, our office manager and events coordinator, wrote an interesting blog titled “Problem vs. Inconvenience”. She demonstrated how we often interpret situations much worse than they are and she encouraged people to really look at a situation and determine if it truly is a problem or merely an inconvenience.
I was challenged last week to make that interpretation. Within a two day span, I had a couple situations arise. The first one occurred driving on Interstate 10 in Houston. I was on my way to a doctor’s appointment when the traffic came to a complete stop due to a vehicle fire. The vehicle was actually a gas tanker so you can imagine the concern. They closed all lanes and there was nothing that could be done as they were not allowing any traffic to pass or get anywhere close to the accident.
I was one exit (1/2 a mile) from my destination. Based on Samantha’s criteria, this was indeed simply an inconvenience. But the story doesn’t stop here. I was fairly close to the front of the stopped traffic so I had a good idea of what was taking place and knew that it was going to be awhile before we got going again. It was a beautiful spring day so there was no need to keep the car running and I turned it off.
Close to an hour later, onlookers started making their way back to their cars. I knew we were getting ready to go and attempted to start my Expedition. The word attempted probably gave away the fact the car would not start. It acted like it wanted to but then would immediately die. After two or three times, it was no longer even trying; it was simply not turning over.
So, here I was in the middle lane of traffic on an interstate that had been backed up for an hour with a vehicle that would not start. The good news, I was close to the front of the line so traffic was merging around the accident slowly (they hadn’t cleared it off but had opened up some outside lanes) AND there were plenty of police officers which meant I had help getting my car to the shoulder and they called a tow truck.
You can imagine this made for a very interesting morning. So, I ask, inconvenience or problem?
(Side note, three different police officers asked me if I was out of gas. I found that strange but decided they must see that a lot. I assured them it wasn’t gas as I’d filled up that very morning. The actually problem ended up being the fuel pump, which on a vehicle that has 260,000+ miles didn’t come as a complete surprise.)
That was situation number one. Situation number two occurred the very next day. I had been to my local bank to make a deposit. Upon returning home I got on the computer to look at the online banking information. I happened to notice an electronic payment to Target. I thought that was strange because I didn’t remember going to Target that past week and certainly didn’t make any online purchases from them. I then noticed a check that had gone through with a check number that wasn’t anywhere close to my sequences of checks. When I tried to view the check, there was no information available.
At this point, I was suspect that there might be some fraudulent activity on the account and immediately went back to the bank. After reviewing the information, they closed the account and began processing paperwork for the fraud and identity theft.
This also required me to have to go the Sherriff’s department to file a police report. Then there’s also contacting any business’ that I had autopayments with and updating new bank account information with them; in other words, a real time consumer.
So, was this a problem or inconvenience? Because the criminals only had my banking information and not my name, driver’s license or social security number, I’m saying inconvenience. However, had I not had Samantha’s comments in the back of my mind, I most likely would have initially viewed these as problems, maybe even big problems.
Now you might be thinking, the title of this article is “Create a Problem” and wondering how that applies here. Actually it doesn’t, at least not directly.
I wanted to bring a couple different things into play this week all around the word “Problem”.
There is a common phrase “How we view the problem is often the problem”. Often we view something as a problem when indeed it’s not or shouldn’t be viewed as such and that’s a problem. 🙂
In the book, “The Obstacle is the Way” author Ryan Holliday addresses this concept. He shows how throughout history the key to many successful figures was their ability to change challenges, problems and adversities into advantages.
That’s a hard one. So many of us face an obstacle and are initially defeated or we simply try to survive. Our initial reaction typically is not how am I going to turn this into an advantage.
I do love that thought process.
My husband and I have recently been having this discussion with our son regarding his batting practice. We have urged him to challenge himself in bp, to make it more difficult. So far that has entailed starting every bp with two strikes and no more bp that doesn’t have some count with all pitches mixed in. We’ll see where it progresses but it’s a great start.
And as is often the case when I decide to write about a topic, related things will catch my attention. That very thing happened this week.
Hanging in my home office is the following quote from Albert Einstein. I hadn’t looked at it in some time but there it was glaring at me this week.
The mere formulation of a problem is far more essential than its solution
which may be merely a matter of mathematical or experimental skills.
To raise new questions, new possibilities,
to regard old problems from a new angle requires creative imagination
and marks real advantage in science.
So what problems will you create today? In mindset coach, Lanny Basham’s Performance Analysis Journal every day one on the blanks to fill in is “I am looking for a solution to ________________________________.
In tying all this together, I believe one, how we process things, even words, such as “problem”, is vitally important and second, we need to remind ourselves to embrace challenges and view them as a critical part of our ultimate success.
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If you are looking for a solution to increasing your velocity, reducing arm pain, improving command and/or developing your secondary pitches, I encourage you to take a look at our Summer Intensive Training Program or our Elite Pitchers Boot Camps. More information can be found at www. Texas Baseball Ranch.com.