We are not usually lacking for solutions; we’re usually lacking for the courage and fortitude to apply the most obvious and simple solution.
Why? Because in a diverse society, every solution for one man is a problem to another. In our culture of appeasement leadership tries to satisfy as many constituent segments as possible rather than inspiring a critical mass to accept short-term sacrifices to affect long-lasting resolutions.
For an example, let’s look at what most Americans identify as their greatest concern today: the economy and our national debt.
Complicated? Hardly. While the causes of our debt crises may be complicated, the solution is incredibly simple:
Stop spending more than we have.
That’s it. Now we can certainly complicate exactly how that gets done, but no matter how you approach this problem you arrive at the same simple solution. We don’t do it because most of our leaders lack the political capital, will and courage to propose what will be a painful shift of responsibility in our society, particularly considering that personal responsibility in our culture is currently on life support.
We can’t just blame the politicians. We do the same thing on an individual level every stinking day. Since not one of us is likely to solve national or global economic issues, let’s focus on some seemingly complex personal problems…
Many people are facing difficult financial decisions, in these times often due to circumstances and conditions outside their control. The ancient martial arts masters taught that while you can’t always control the scenario, you can always control your response.
Let’s take a whopper. I sometimes speak to a group of Unemployed Professionals through a remarkable program operated by Cindy Edwards and the State of Maine. Some of these people worked in the same profession, even in the same job for 20, 30 years or longer. Many have extremely specialized skills and incredible experience.
Unfortunately for many of these people, their skill sets are no longer in demand in the industries that laid them off. In other cases companies are looking for younger, fiscally leaner talent.
Some of these people are faced with complex issues including re-training to a different career, selling a home short, moving away from friends and family or even abandoning their homes. Most are facing a very competitive job market even for lower paying and menial jobs.
Let’s construct the most complex nexus of problems imaginable:
- No job, specialized skill now vestigial
- Imminent foreclosure
- Menial jobs going to younger applicants in this market
The solutions are painfully simple, or we could say simple but painful:
It’s not fair that people who have dedicated their lives to a particular field now have to re-train or face the loss of their homes just when they deserve to be preparing for a comfortable retirement. It’s not fair that many have lost their life savings due to criminally managed investment funds. It’s not fair that people are losing their homes because of a national economic meltdown.
It’s not fair, but it is reality.
Where is our courage? The American spirit was once one that never accepted defeat. Have we lost that spirit? Are we willing to roll over and wait in hopes of government intervention or some kind of miraculous economic recovery?
We’re supposed to be the underdogs! We’re supposed to be the people who can face any adversity and come out on top.
That courage and spirit still exists in that Unemployed Professionals group! For every person in that room, there are ten or more waiting at home for that next unemployment extension. While others wait for a hand-out, these people take the pain and the hard, simple steps they need to move their lives forward.
The funny thing to me is that I’m asked to speak to this group to inspire them. Every time I visit, they inspire me much more.
There is the easy way, then there is the simple way. The simple way is seldom the easy way, but it’s usually right way. The simple solution is often the most painful in the short-term, but usually the most rewarding in the long-term.
Best of all, at least for the time being, the choice is still yours.
Simple; not easy!
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