Tag Archives: Solutions

Creative Ways to Solve Problems

My neighborhood had a sort of a festival this weekend. Something to do with the goddess of spring coming, or something. It is kind of like a carnival in some respects. They have various festivals around, and their a group of food vendors, around twenty or thirty that travel around and land in whatever city happens to be having the festival.  I went with a couple friends. One of my friends’ cousin was working at one of the booths, so we were hanging out talking for a while about this and that. He telling us about the different cities they go to, and how they see the some of the same people in each city. And one of my friends asked him if he ever gets tired of cooking and eating the particular food that they prepare. He said it’s just like any other job, you get used to it. But then he said they are having a problem with this particular city. Some kinds of termites or something. Since they started up, they started seeing little termite like bugs. And that spells bad news for a food stall carnival traveler, because most of stuff is made of wood. He seemed pretty worried, because a business like that, you are pretty close to breaking even most of the time, and you can’t really handle unforeseen problems that crop up from time to time.

Like when my friend found a bunch of plumbing problems under his house. He had a huge tree in the backyard, and the branches were strangling the pipes under the house and messing up the flow. And he got several estimates, and it was going to cost around five thousand dollars. Because he and his wife had spent most of their money buying this house, they didn’t have that kind of cash laying around to fix the problem. Even though it really wasn’t there problem. Or at least it wasn’t there problem before, and when they moved into the house, they just sort of accepted the fact that this problem was there, and decided they would have to figure out a way to deal with it. Problems can be interesting in this regard.

Sometimes when you have a problem, and you try the usual methods, and they don’t work, sometimes you need to think of something else. You need to get creative and think of new ways to get around problems. Because as long as you live and move through life, you are going to encounter problems. People that become really successful in life, (regardless of how you define success,) aren’t the ones that have to deal with the least amount of problems. They are the ones that are able to come up with different solutions for whatever problem they come up against. And really successful people have discovered that problems are really opportunities in disguise. Many people believe the difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is how they perceive problems. Successful people see them as ways to learn and improve their skills. Regardless of how big and unsolvable the problem seems, you can always think of new ideas, even come up with ways to use it to your advantage.

So my friend’s wife got on the phone. She called and checked if there was a statute of limitations, or whatever you call it, on buying a house. She was hoping to see if they could figure out way to get the previous owner to pay part of the bill. No dice. Then she had an idea. She checked to see when the tree was planted, and it was planted by the city before the houses were actually built. So she called the city, and sure enough they admitted they were responsible. And the city paid the entire bill. And all it took was a few phone calls.

And the termites turned out to not even be termites. They were a weird strain of ants, really small ants, that  look like termites. And since it was a ‘spring is coming’ festival, they took it as a good sign. Kind of like when the groundhog sees his shadow, or doesn’t see his shadow, or however that rule goes. And because my friends’ booth had the highest concentration of these pretend-termite-ants, it was the most popular for the weekend, and made the most money. He still didn’t give us any free food, though.


How to Stay Open to Solutions For Your Problems

A huge storm is blowing my neck of the woods. It might even snow tonight. I kind of like snow, because I never really got a chance to experience it much as a kid. Of course I have a friend that grew up in Minnesota, and now he can’t get enough sun. The hotter the better. I guess your experience can determine what you like, proving that reality can be subjective, when you take things into consideration.

One of the drawbacks of this huge storm coming in is there has been a large door banging shut somewhere. Since I’ve only been in my building for about a week, I’ve been listening to it for the past couple of days without really being sure where it was. You know when you can hear something, but every time you think you’ve got the location pinned down, it seems to be coming from somewhere else? Or when you think you can find the source, you seem to have trouble being able to find your way to the beginning of something? 

So tonight is extremely windy, and the door was really BANGING shut every couple of minutes. And I thought to myself, there’s now way I’m going to be able to sleep soundly with all that racket, so I’d better go have a look.

Off I go to investigate. It seems that it is a big metal door that is on the stairwell on the west side of my building. The door is really big, and really heavy. My first thought was to just simply shut the door, and that will be that. But there are two problems with that. The first problem is that it only shuts with a latch from the inside, which is inaccessible from the outside. So if I were to close the door, it wouldn’t allow other people to come in. It would be great for me, but not so great for other people. 

Sometimes when the obvious solution to something doesn’t seem so great when you take time to think how it will effect other people. If you just take a little bit of extra time to think of others, you can really create more benefit. Of course most people, like you, understand this, but a few people don’t, so I think it’s important to always go the extra step.

Then I thought of something. If I opened the door all the way open, like it normally sits without any latches or anything, it would be fine. The problem was that the extra wind was somehow getting in behind it and pulling it shut. Normally it just sits open, inside of a sunken frame just slightly bigger than the door itself. Because it’s so heavy, apparently it never closes unless somebody (or a very strong wind) pulls it shut. So I had an idea. All I had to do was find something to jam in between the door and the sunken frame, so it would stay open, and it would work fine. There seemed to be about a quarter to half a centimeter space.

So I came back to my apartment, and looked for something to jam in. AHA! One chopstick. I grabbed a hammer, and off I went.

Perfect fit. I pulled to make sure, and it was solid. Held open. Wouldn’t budge.

Not only was the obvious solution inappropriate given the consideration of others, the best way to fix it seemed to be exactly the opposite of what I’d expected.

Funny how that works.