Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Looking For The Real Answer When Abstract Will Do

My niece was medically discharged from the US Army, after serving a tour in Iraq, and she decided to apply for her first job. She had gone into the military right after high school and had never worked in the “civilian world.”

The company she chose had an online application, which if the applicant qualified, would result in a second online application that included three questions. An interview would only be given if the answers to the three questions passed muster.

She did qualify and received the three questions. Two questions were no problem but the third question completely stumped her.

My niece could have simply given up and not submitted the answers at all, thereby not even getting to the interview stage. She could have answered two of the questions and left the third blank. She could have just said whatever she could think of, which may or may not have been what the company was looking for. Instead she decided to search for perspective or advise about the question. Knowing the time we live in, she probably did attempt to find an answer via Google, evidently without success. But she eventually ended up asking me what I thought.

The question was, “Supposed your job included processing hundreds of files over and over. How would you keep motivated?”

I told her the answer was easy.  You simply divide the files into piles of 10.  As you complete each pile, you will experience the feeling of accomplishment and will be motivated to complete more piles.

She got the interview, and eventually the job. They told her the answer to that question was a large factor in their choice to hire her.

To me it was obvious. To her not so much. She was young and had less experience.  Then again, maybe she was stumped because she thought the question had an actual right answer rather than understanding it was an abstract question individual to each person. 

All problems we face are actually abstract questions individual to each person. This is true for fitness, weight-loss, healthy eating, parenting, martial relations, and absolutely everything we do under the sun.

We can explore possibilities, research methods, even experiment with different approaches, but in the end, we have to decide what works for us. What is completely and unarguably successful for another person may or may not work for us.  We may need to just tweek it or maybe we have to discard it and try something totally different. And that’s okay.

The important thing is that we are engaged in the process. Autopilot is really not a productive way to find peace and happiness. We have to pay attention to our own inner voice about what works for us. We have to pay attention to how our actions and reactions do or do not get us to our endgame – whatever that endgame might be. We have to either ask the opinion of others or look for other sources of information that we can use to evaluate what works for us.

Most of all, we have to proactively make decisions about what we want and how we can get there, and seek the path most unique to us. I assure you, it is out there.

Where do you look for answers and inspiration? Do you look for print/audio resources and/or have someone you trust to ask for advice?