Resolving Problems and Opportunities

Newton’s Third Law.

Newton formalized the idea of conservation of momentum. “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” The same general thought applies to problems and opportunities in our everyday lives.

The problem or opportunity is the action. The solution is the reaction.

Many of us think that the reaction and the solution are the same thing. Not so much.

The problem environment.

Some problems are not worth the trouble to fix. Then there are the others. Mathematician Paul Erdos had an interesting idea about that:

“Problems worthy of attack prove their worth by fighting back

Those problems must not be trivialized or solved with half vast approaches.

The errors in solving problems and opportunities

Problems are contextual. Sometimes you can reduce their effects. For most that is the reactionary decisions. If a tire has a slow leak, you can solve it by buying a pump and refilling it periodically. Or, you could repair the tire. Or, you could get a new tire. Or, you could stop driving through a junk yard. Or, you could stop driving entirely.

Most of the solutions are contextual. If you cannot afford a new tire, a pump could help. Some solutions are unavailable. Maybe you cannot stop driving in a junk yard.

Problems never go away.

There is a law of conservation of problem. Problems are never solved, they merely change their form. No money is a problem. So, is a lot of money.

A more complete solution

No solution is perfect but some are more durable and all encompassing. There are ways to think about that.

  1. Understand the idea of synthetic solutions. Synthesis creates a final result by joining pieces together. Synthetic solutions involve joining pieces together to reach a better answer. It could involve using more than one technique to address a problem or opportunity or it could involve joining problems so there is a solution to both.
  2. Analytic solutions are vastly different. They involve breaking the problem down.
    An example of a synthetic solution is life insurance to provide the needed estate liquidity boost and specific forms of it to provide a tax preferred environment to grow investment accounts. A single solution to each problem will be less valuable than the synthetic version. Analysis would find two solutions.
  3. A similar approach involves integration. More than one approach to a given solution. Marketing plans often are aimed at different demographics. What works for one might not work in another. Some manufacturers build hierarchical product lines. Entry level. Mid range. High end. Chevrolet to Buick to Cadillac as income changes is one of the first.

Integrated and synthetic affect durability

People solve a given situation infrequently. They don’t get good at it. They forget the nuance of their solution. As context changes, they make mistakes in its application.

Integrated and synthetic solutions are more durable for two reasons:

  1. They tend to adapt to change better.
  2. The client understands them better, because they were a bit of trouble to work through in the first place. They notice the change and know what can be done.

Solutions that are one dimensional and poorly understood don’t last. Problems do though. Who wants to spend their time finding new solutions to old problems.

Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario.

In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.

Please be in touch if I can help you. 866-285-7772

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