Problem Solving – Between people

I was talking to a friend of mine today about change, and problem solving. He gave me some advice that I think can help anyone that is willing to listen, so I am going to post it here. When solving a problem, there are two different outcomes. And each of these outcomes can either be positive or negative.

First, CHANGE. One of the outcomes of problem solving is change. Change is defined as: To make something into something different. So the outcome of the problem solving can be change. But this change can be accoplished in two ways: negotiation or comprimise. Either solution can be good if change is an outcome that can be achived, but change is not always possible. Negotiation: the process of achieving agreement through discussion. Negotiation can only be achived if both parties in the problem have the ability to start a discussion and to actually come to an agreement. Compromise: To find a way between extremes. Compromise occurs without complete agreement, but a satisfactory middle ground can be found.

Second, ACCEPT. Lots of times, change is not a possible solution for problem solving. Sometimes change is not possible. Either you can’t negotiate with an individual, or you can’t come to a compromise on the solution. In that case, you have to accept the problem as it is. But there are two ways to accept a problem. You can either show empathy or you can have tolerance. Both are valid responses to a problem that change is not possible so you have to accept it. Empathy: capacity to understand another person’s point of view or the result of such understanding. Empathy is by no means an easy thing to achieve. But the main point is that you have to understand the other persons point of view. You don’t have to agree with it, but you have to UNDERSTAND it. Tolerance: the ability to tolerate the beliefs or practices of others. If the problem can’t be changed, and you can’t reach empathy, then your last resort is tolerance. Of course, this is not the best course of action and can lead to resentment.

Bottom line, not all problems can be solved by change. Some of them just have to be accepted. But it is up to the individual to deceide if they are going to have empathy or tolerance.

Let me give you an example.

Lets say you know and individual that has an bad habit. This habit is seen as a problem by you. You have two options, you can either get the person to change and break the habit, or you can accept the habit.

In most cases unless the person wants to change, change cannot be an outcome. So you have to accept that the person has this habit and changes is not a possiblity. Then you have two choices, you can either show empathy, or tolerance. By showing empathy (putting yourself in the persons shoes, and actually undersanding why they have the habit) you will then be able to then accept the habit.

Note: by accepting the habit, you are not agreeing with it or showing support for it. You are just having empathy for the person with the habit and understanding why they are doing what they are doing. Or you can just tolerate it. I would say the empathy route would have more of a chance of leading to change in the future than that toleration solution. it would show the person that you love them more than just tolerating it.

Just my 2 cents worth…. Let me know what you think…