Problems (and how to deal with them)

A bit of a departure for me today - I'm going to "blog" a response to another "blogger's" "blog".

Generally, I HATE this. In fact, it's the reason I only read one blog and one blog only - because the majority of the "blogosphere" is just self-centered moronic do-nothings who wait for some other self-centered moronic do-nothing to actually come up with an original thought, then they post responses to them ad nauseum. I personally maintain that only one original thought per day happens on the internet, and the other 5,999,999 blog postings that litter this network of interconnected nutjobs are just responses to that one thought.

So, having said that, Seth Godin today talks about solving problems.

This is a particularly good posting, especially in light of the fact that everyone (including me) is making these little promises to themselves today in order to better their lives. The reason I'm responding to it is that I have a slightly different take on his perspective.

My father once told me a long, long time ago that I should always volunteer to take responsibility for things when they go wrong, especially things that might not be my fault. This sounded absolutely ludicrous at the time, and having typed it out and heard myself say it in my own voice in my head, it still sounds pretty insane now... But the reason to do this, he said, was that it's the only way that you can take ownership of something and fix it.

His theory, as long as I've known him, is "If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself." It's not a particularly unique or revolutionary theory, until you understand the man that is my father the way I do. I always thought he meant to say that he was a perfect and glowing being sent here by God Almighty himself to do perfectly everything on Earth that was worth doing; that somehow his shit didn't stink and that he was the only perfect person ever.

And of course, there's probably a small bit of that mixed into what he really meant, which was "I am a perfectionist, and I cannot sit idly by and watch someone do something the way I wouldn't do it. This does not mean they are wrong, it simply means that my particular brand of neurosis forces me to want things to be done a particular way - and if I want to spare myself and everyone around me a tremendous amount of grief through complaining, I might as well get off my ass and get to work."

In other words, it may not be "right" in a universal sense... But at least it's as right as you can make it, and you won't spend the rest of your life blaming someone else for any imperfections that arise.

It took a long time for that to sink in... But when it did, my life became a lot easier to live, and I became a LOT less lazy. To me, this is a version of Seth's "leaning into a problem." It takes a TREMENDOUS amount of confidence to do it (or, lacking that, a severe lack of concern for what anyone else thinks), because when it fails with you at the helm, you're going to take the heat. But the important thing to remember is that at the end of it all, it really doesn't matter if you met X goal or Y deadline. All that matters is that the time spent doing whatever you were doing was spent doing it well. It fulfilled you and made you happy and gave you a purpose for being alive.

That's all that you can really do while you're here, you know... Spend your time doing things worth doing.

And when you succeed after taking responsibility for a problem? Well... Let's just say that that road leads to a place you never, EVER could have gone to if you'd just sat on your ass and let life happen to you.