Sometimes The Problem Isn’t The Problem

There is a scene in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig (one of the more influential books on my development) where the author is attempting to fix something on his motorcycle. He gets the appropriate tools out, prepares his mind with the proper workflow, and takes a screwdriver to a machine screw in order to remove the cover.

Oops. The screwdriver slips. It destroys the little groove in the head of the screw.

Unless you realize that your immediate problem is not the chain you were going to fix but removing that reluctant screw, you will not get the job done.

Maybe we thought we had a problem finishing a project at work. Maybe we were organizing a trip. Or figuring out a new way to make my small business profitable.

Unless we realized that the real problem for the time being is avoiding attracting the coronavirus and becoming ill, then we will become frustrated and accomplish nothing.

Maybe our real problem for the short term (actually should be a long term way of life) is maintaining or becoming healthy. Build up our immune system through nutrition, exercise, and sleep.

A publicist sent an email notifying me of a registered dental hygienist who is also an “oral fitness coach” (just when you thought you’d heard of everything). She (aside from selling her latest oral hygiene products) was reminding us to brush, floss, rinse. Yes, oral health impacts our entire immune system. Sometimes the little daily habit is the real problem of the moment.

I don’t know where April went. The pandemic has killed more Americans than the Vietnam war. But, we must still live cautiously, not fearfully, for a time, yet, as we gradually return to a more normal life. Happy May Day.

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