In the midst of the ISIS crisis in the Middle East, I see President Obama has stated the following:

We know that if we are joined by the international community, we can continue to shrink ISIL’s sphere of influence, its effectiveness, its financing, its military capabilities to the point where it is a manageable problem. WSJ

I don’t know where it heads or how our leaders will seek to deal with the terrorizing of people by this radical Islamic fundamentalist group (beheading two journalists so far), but there is a disturbing lesson in here for all of us. In a later statement, administration officials backtracked a bit saying ISIS must be degraded before it can be destroyed.

However, the disturbing lesson we can learn from these words is found in the single phrase ‘manageable problem’.

If you manage the problem, you’ll keep the problem. -FRL

I’m not talking about politics or government polity. Instead, I am talking about a mindset when we face problems. What needs to be going on surrounds a word like ‘cure’ or ‘solution’ rather than the mere management of a problem. A mindset of bringing a problem to a permanent end is the right kind of vehicle to throw a problem into. If you encounter a problem that can’t be cured, then you have a reality (not a problem). Problems, by their nature, can be cured.

So, what are you facing if you aren’t the President of the United States of America? What kind of challenge is in view? If the President and Congress think that a problem like this needs to be managed, then we are going to see it continue. If they think it can be cured, then there’s a chance someone will see a solution. Curing cancer or human trafficking will come as we look for a cure. Managing these scourges will simply perpetuate them.

Are you trying to make your own problems manageable or are you trying to make them go away forever? Just this one small distinction brings up completely different possible solutions. What if your enduring ‘problem’ has been hanging around simply because you haven’t thought about making it go away forever?

Off to learn,

Fred Ray Lybrand

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