How and why do we want to solve a problem?

All of us seems to have a growing number of problems all the time and we all seem to want to find a solution for it. We want to make the problems go away but we don’t often think about the issue in relation to other things. This is because we are wired to think in a limited capacity from our formative years so that we only think about an issue in isolation. If for example, we were asked to solve a question at school on how far one would have to walk diagonally across the park given its length and width, we would use a formula and then be done with it. However, it is not often that more critical and engaging questions are asked about the situation which hinders our ability to be forward thinking. Simply put, we are told to do something and we do it.

The broader picture however is much more complicated. For example, we can’t find the answer to the dynamics of a country’s borders on a map. On the ground, it tends to be much more intricate in that there could be fences, rivers, bridges and/or checkpoints which are not accounted for on the map. When we actually try to understand such things with such a simplistic method, we forget that we are actually looking at a much broader picture. We cannot truly know what it really looks like just by looking at one side of things.

This method is unfortunately the same way in which we go about our daily lives. Whether it be business, education or even life, we do not often seem to want to look past the first perception that we have. Of course, we lead increasingly busier lives but it does not mean we have to ignore the many other factors out there. If it is happiness and contentment that we are trying to achieve by solving issues, simplifying them means that we simplify our own lives and in effect, ignore larger problems while just trying to get by.

Despite this, we can change our ways. If we begin to bring together all the relevant factors of a given problem we can see it in a whole new light and potentially gain a greater happiness. Happiness is not defined by who we are or what we do but what we know. It is determined by our knowledge and by implication: wisdom regarding our lives. For instance, having a choice of pursuing a hobby or maintaining a social life could be justified by drawing up a set of pros and cons. However, it is not just these two factors that are relevant. It is also about who this affects (Friends? Family?), how it affects them (How close are they to you?), your own ambitions (is it a career move or simply to take time off?) and how you justify whether the hobby was successful (when it replaces your income or whether it makes you feel good about yourself). These are not easy factors to take into account but the point is not to simply solve all of your problems at once. Actually, the point is to begin to acknowledge the factors that are relevant and see how they all work together. If we can connect the dots, things begin to make sense and that means we are wiser and more knowledgeable about our lives. This in itself means we can generally be calmer, more coherent, aware, content and joyful. It also means that if a new issue arises, we are able to understand to a greater extent its relevance and the actions required to solve it.