When you are faced with a problem which seems to defy a solution, what do you do?

Do you decide that it’s probably all too hard and put it on the back burner? Do you hand it over to someone else with a thankful sigh? Or do you grit your teeth and keep on trying to solve it?

I ask for a reason. There has been this problem that has exercised the minds and efforts of a number of people over more than a few months. The problem wasn’t particularly life threatening but it was causing inconvenience to the organisation; and it was causing me personally some slight annoyance, and it wasn’t being solved. So exasperation got the better of me on the weekend and I decided this had to stop. So I solved it.

I don’t believe that a problem is ever unsolvable – in fact my grandfather had laid down that principle early on in my life. “Michele” he would tell me “if you can’t find the answer then you’re asking the wrong question!” Such an attitude let me to try all sorts of answers until I could find one that worked. In fact my boss once said to me “You don’t so much solve the problem as worry it to death!” In fact I refused to give up.

We all know the story of the light bulb – how many ways Edison found that it didn’t work, and I can probably recount about a hundred ways of not getting some things done. This has never been of concern to me – I like to worry a problem to death; it feels good when I finally ask the right question and get the obvious solution.

However, it appears I may be in a minority. Others who I have spoken to tell me that they don’t bother with all that – “If you were in the army today you wouldn’t have time for that kind of nonsense” said one. It made me wonder what actually happened to the problem then, did it stop being a problem once people had stopped trying to solve it, or did they just learn to accept the inconvenient outcome and put up with it.

I don’t think I have ever been a ‘putter-up-wither’. I just don’t see the reason for it. The problem is still a problem whether I decide to leave it or not. And the inevitable outcome of such an attitude will be that all problems that refuse to go away after the quick fix has failed, will be treated the same way – and that could be dangerous.

The key to any success is – in my opinion – often nothing more than grim determination to find an answer. The easy way out achieves at most, mediocrity – and there are many talented people out there just waiting for their chance. I found this quote in a book by Bill Newman called The Ten Laws of Leadership and it encapsulated everything I feel about grim determination ….

Press On. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are important.

… and that goes for women too!

We are familiar with the tales of survival through persistence and determination; and perhaps when our very lives are at stake the alternative to persistence is not an appealing option. Nor is facing a life in a wheel chair and if determination can effect the outcome then it is surprising just how much gritted teeth dedication to pain you can cope with – as I know from personal experience.

And if that is not a possible outcome, then it takes grim determination to achieve a quality of life that is positive and successful as Mark Hunter knows.

These are situations and problems that if not solved successfully can have life changing outcomes, outcomes that may not be what we wanted. So our motivation is immediately identifiable.

But what happens if the outcome from an unsolved problem is not so dramatic or so uncomfortable; if the problem is causing merely minor inconveniences? Will our commitment to solving it be equally positive?

I believe that people change only when they are really uncomfortable with things or with life. And the commitment to solving a problem will depend on the degree of discomfort that it creates. But then there are others who with a grim determination have decided that a problem is a problem and needs to be solved. Count me in that group!

Minor inconveniences can become an ongoing irritation, and eventually the minor irritations can build into a major problem that needs to be solved immediately. We are now faced with a major difficulty causing massive inconvenience – and it could have been avoided. Yes, Experience speaking there folks!

So how do you cope with those little problems that just don’t appear to have an immediate solution? Do you put up with them hoping they will fix themselves – because they won’t, trust me on that! Or do you try once or twice to fix it, only to give up? Or do you decide enough is enough and with an amount of grim determination which may be surprising to others set about finding a solution even if it takes time?

It’s attitude, you see. And if you have the attitude of grim determination to see it through, you will bring that attitude to all things in your life – and it is persistence and determination that is, alone, important to any successful outcome.

Written by Miss Grim Determination herself

Michele @ Trischel

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