I worry that people struggle with things that aren’t critical. One of the things I learned many years ago was the importance of systems. In particular, I was working with a Hospital in Chicago. The IT leader and I were sitting in his office, and he was detailing the importance of programs. “Will someone die if this machine isn’t working” it was a simple yes or no question. It did, however, change how I viewed problems after that. If it isn’t a life-threatening or life-saving system, it is not critical. Based on that I’ve been posting both troubleshooting and expectation setting posts lately. Starting from that frame of reference, life or death systems, it becomes much easier to troubleshoot problems. Yesterday I posted a consider the variables post. I worry that people are too fast in our modern world to cast blame. To assume that their problem is wholly someone else’s issue.
I talked in my post yesterday about the number of variables. I wanted to push this a little further and point out that I didn’t even start with many other user variables that can have an even greater impact. The reality of the impact of networks can be critical. For example, if you are on a saturated network segment, it changes how sites respond to you. It adds some variables to an already huge number. The age of the computer, type of processor and available memory also can cause a huge impact. Computers are smart, enough to not use bad memory and bad sectors on a hard drive. But if your hard drive is full or your memory if fully allocated the system has to use the bad memory as well. That is a huge variable.
I am reminded of an old proverb. A person struggled with their problems. They were more than the person could stand. They went to the village elders and said “I can no longer deal with my problems. They are far too hard, far too random and they cause me great pain.” The elders looked at each other, smiled, and then the head of the elder’s counsel said: “write your problems on a piece of paper.” As the person did that, the elders said to everyone else in the room. “Write your problems on a piece of paper as well.” The elders then said to the first person to “hand your problems to the person next to you, and they will hand you their problems.” The man smiled and passed his problems away, taking the problems of the person next to him. He read the problems and frowned. The elders asked “are these problems better?” they asked. “no” the man said. “they are worse.” The elders smiled “change with another person.” The person did, changing with everyone in the room eventually until finally, he smiled. “Are these problems acceptable to you?” The elders asked the person. “Yes,” the person said “I know these problems well. They are the ones I brought and the ones I will take with me.”
If you don’t own your problems, you are doomed always to seek a better path, and likely never find one.“