You're closer than you think

Mike Murray ( has been writing about the paradoxes of problem solving. Today he argues that solutions come from the same box as problems. This is certainly true of Lego and other kits that need to be assembled by bleary-eyed parents in the wee hours of Christmas morning.

Most of the time, I am not much aware of boxes or problems. My own thinking is metaphorical and lends itself to journey motifs. Often, it seems that my main gift (and curse - they always have two sides) is to see the distances that others are traveling so that I can tell them "You're closer than you think."

Neurologically and chronologically, this is likely to be true. By the time you are aware of a thought, your brain is always one step ahead, preparing for your next thought. People benefit from hearing this truth; and quite often, I can follow it up with specific evidence that the road in front of them is shorter or the obstacle smaller than it seems.

There are no problems in this story: mountains and rivers are part of the landscape without which we would have a smaller, less interesting world. Finding our way over or through or around is what we do, because we humans are restless beings. If we are going to be on the road, it might as well be scenic. Sometimes, it takes enormous creativity or perseverance or courage to keep moving. It's lucky human beings have lots of those things.

What if the problem on your desk is a road you are travelling? Where are you going? I'll bet you are closer to getting there than you think.


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