Sometimes we don’t see things as clearly as we might. Perhaps we are too close to the situation to see it clearly – too immersed in it to see our way out. Often times things have a way of seeming way more complicated than they really are. We just need some space, some distance, to see the situation clearly. An outside, objective viewpoint can also help you to see things clearly.
Recently I was working on a case study that hit fairly close to home for me. The situation was a parent with teenage children who had bugged her to buy them a dog and then they didn’t take care of it. The parent was tired of nagging her children to do their homework, clean their rooms, and now, to look after their dog. Just reading the case study, I felt the parent’s frustration of continually asking for something and not having their teenager respond.
I went into the case study thinking “I feel sorry for the person trying to solve this problem, because there is no solution”. It’s just the nature of the beast, most teenagers don’t do what you want them to and most parents are saddled with the bulk of the work.
During the case study, I very much got into my role as the parent. I was totally frustrated and not sure what to do. However, one person on the other side of the case study didn’t just tell me that I should tell my children they have to look after their dog (which I had done a thousand times, and which was the cause of my frustration), he gave me a real solution. Shift the onus to the children. Tell them that if they don’t take care of their dog, we will have to find the dog a new home with people who love him and want to take care of him. Now the ball is totally in their court. Brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that?
Lately, when faced with a dilemma or a puzzling decision, I’ve been waiting before making a decision. Letting the situation percolate for a while before making a decision. I’ve found that by stepping back and waiting I can see the situation more clearly. Sometimes, after a week or so a solution comes into my mind that seems so simple that I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before.