July 17

Today's quotation:

Approach each new problem not with a view of finding
what you hope will be there, but to get the truth,
the realities that must be grappled with.  You may not like
what you find.  In that case you are entitled to try
to change it.  But do not deceive yourself as to
what you do find to be the facts of the situation.

Bernard M. Baruch

Today's Meditation:

I find it very easy to look at problems with my mind on how I want things to turn out.  A conflict with a friend?  I know how that should turn out.  Difficulties on the job?  Well, I can tell you just how those should be solved.  This approach, though, doesn't allow for the possibility that the problems we encounter in life have something to teach us.  The problems with friends can deepen the friendship, if only we look at the problem without preconceived notions of how the problem should be solved.  The problems at work can help us to learn to be more effective on the job--if only we look for the truth in the problem by addressing it honestly and directly.

Each new problem that we face could be addressed in a unique way if we allow the problem itself to determine how we address it.  Unfortunately, we tend to fall into the same patterns that we've used before--after all, haven't those methods "worked" in the past?  But this approach doesn't respect the newness of each problem, nor does it respect the fact that we change as people, and as we changed we should find new ways of dealing with things.

Every problem brings its own reality.  We don't always like what we find, especially when we discover that we ourselves have been one of the major causes of a problem.  But that truth should not make us flinch from dealing with the problem honestly--after all, only when we learn how we've caused problems can we change our actions in order to avoid causing similar problems later.

Beware, though, for "facts" are relative.  A "fact" to me ("John was being stubborn") may not be the same to someone else ("Thank God John stuck to his guns!").  Learn through objectivity and as time goes on, your problems will be fewer and much, much easier to deal with.

Questions to consider:

Do most of us want to find the truth of a problem, or simply to solve it as quickly and painlessly as possible?

How would you define the term "fact"?

Why might we start to deal with all problems in similar ways?  Is this always an effective approach?

For further thought:

There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you
in its hands.  You seek problems because you need their gifts.

Richard Bach


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