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If you are faced with a decision about solving a problem that will involve you in putting in some effort to get what you want, ask yourself:

  • “What is the Context?”
  • “What is the Cost?”
  • “Do I have the Commitment?”

Context?

When/where does the problem occur? Is it constant, frequent, occasional? It may be that it will go away of its own accord, or that it is not really the problem at all and that something else needs fixing. Or is it somebody else’s responsibility to fix it?

Cost?

I don’t mean financial, but the cost in other terms like loss of time, worry,  distractions, interruptions or stress? Remember that, as well as worrying and stressing us, worry and stress also cause accidents, mistakes, ill-health, low morale, sleeplessness, unhealthy choices… In short they make us more vulnerable to all sorts of negative effects, and these have a cost.

Commitment?

We often cannot fix a problem in one hit, and even if we can there might be a knock-on effect, so we’ll have to commit to seeing it through. Are you prepared for that? And do you have the right resources, like energy, capability and support? Perhaps there is something else that needs putting in place before you start, or some aspect of you skills that need developing, for example.

Used together these three questions are more powerful than you’d expect, and there’s an advantage I haven’t mentioned yet; they might mean that you can continue to avoid dealing with a problem, but with a better understanding of why you are doing it.

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