“A discerning man keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.” – Proverbs 17:24
Fascinated as I’ve become with drones – those remote-controlled aircraft that seem to be more and more prevalent – they call into question “are these ingenious aeronautical inventions going to solve problems for us, or create them?” The answer, of course, is both. Yes, there is great potential for solving all sorts of problems from efficiency in delivering goods from Amazon to our doorsteps, to search and rescue, to fire-fighting, to law enforcement, to perhaps one day even moving passengers. But they also create a whole new set of problems, from controlling airspace which could quickly become overcrowded, to poorly trained and unregulated operators, to all sorts of criminal activities. In other words the question raised about either solving or creating problems quickly becomes very complex. Think back three decades ago and the same would hold true for the evolution of the internet and electronic communication, and still does.
It is still a great question, though, not just about technology advances with global implications, but also about the day-to-day decisions we all face. Will whatever it is I am about to say or do solve a problem or create one? Even in small personal decisions such as how to respond to one’s spouse or child, the question is still relevant; will my response solve a problem or create one? Rarely will the answer be straightforward.
Back in my corporate days I learned this the hard way. We often encountered conflicts many of which we could have easily proven ourselves to be in the right and the other party wrong. I learned quickly, however, that winning those battles, even though it may have solved the immediate problem, could sometimes create even bigger, more difficult ones such as damaged relationships, lack of trust, and ultimately loss of business.
“Will this solve a problem or create one?” It is a great question, not because it yields straightforward answers, but because it forces us to consider the implications of our decisions much more broadly and deeply. Indeed it is a wisdom question; for “a discerning man keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.”