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Unstuck 1.2: The 1% Resolution

Problem-solvers that we pride ourselves on being, it seems galling when some nimble nimrod slips one of those sinkerball-slick resolutions into the game. We’re out gathering specifications or envisioning outcomes while some twerp walks away already satisfied. How do they do that?

Part of their magic must be linguistic. They label what we call problems ‘difficulties.’ Problems, they’ll explain with hardly any encouragement, have solutions. Not all difficulties qualify as problems because some of them couldn’t possibly have solutions, or we’ve never once seen them solved. It’s futility incarnate to force-fit some solution onto something that never qualified as a problem in the first place. So, they focus upon resolution rather than solution, difference over completely done.

Another characteristic hardly qualifies as magic. They’re lazy, often easy to please. Whatever the opposite of perfectionistic might be, that’s them. They’ll settle for different under the principle that difference begets choices sameness never could provide. They’ll nudge and be on their way while we’re still trying to remember where we left our Big F-ing Hammer.

Truth told, we’re often imprisoned by delusions of the absolute necessity of completeness. Hungry for paragraph ends, deep-down thirsty for punctuation, we parse our futures with strong preferences for the unrealistic, the unachievable, completeness. So we get stuck. Nuthin’ seems to leave those Teflon®-coated difficulty jockies stuck.

One of the tricks of their trade employs the power of lowering expectations. When they face a daunting job, what do they do? They might spend a tiny sliver of time imagining the smallest, most insignificant act that might get them moving. The direction doesn’t really matter. Their under-whelming effort focuses more upon starting than finishing, learning more than fully understanding.

If you’ve ever moved a refrigerator, you might have noticed that the first inch turns out to be the most daunting. The skids have sunk into the linoleum; that and the Coke somebody spilled at last year’s Christmas party conspire to create a tenacious inertia under there, the inertia of stuckness. Move that sucker an inch either way and the behemoth slides one-hand easy. Until then, not even two hands can budge it.

That first inch qualifies as a 1% Resolution, one that resolves about 99% of the effort. A quick hip bump or a forceful palm slap, and the daunting difficulty transforms into more easily resolvable form, then the inertia of motion’s on your side.

I’m still learning to look for opportunities to get out of my sticky, problem-solving mindset. Often, I’m finding, a tiny shift in perspective can transform what first appears as an insurmountable rock face desperately needing climbing into a shady awning. I just need to remember that even I usually have enough power to muster a judicious application of the tiniest touch of strategic slothfulness, another 1% Resolution.

©2012 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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