The Key to Fixing Big Problems? – Think Small

Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

This morning I read an email from a friend who is understandably concerned about the racial, political, social, and moral unrest and issues that divide us. Like so many of us, he has been watching various YouTube videos which present some aspect of the problem but offer little or no solutions. His email ended with, “So what are we to do?”

I got to thinking about that. The challenges we face as a nation, as a people, are complex. Take any of the recent protests we’ve seen on the news. It’s a mixed bag…there are genuine inequities that still exist. Some are deep and hurtful. Can these wounds be healed solely through public policy change? Perhaps. But there are cultural and economic issues we must address as well. Can a child raised by a single mom succeed in life? Certainly. But statistics show that it’s harder than if that child is raised in a two-parent home. Can a child raised in poverty, with limited educational options, better themselves, and create a more prosperous economic future for their children? Yes – but it’s harder to do.

And in the midst of it all, there is raw emotion, which sometimes leads to violence and irrational thinking that accomplishes nothing – or makes reaching progress harder. Some are using these circumstances to promote their political agendas. And let’s not kid ourselves.  We all have some level of bias or prejudice. It’s sad because it’s hard to deal with one aspect of the situation without addressing the other elements. We take sides and say that I’m right, and you’re wrong.

Let me suggest that we will never solve anything; we will never move forward as long as we hold to our sweeping generalizations. Instead, let’s think small. Let’s find one small piece of common ground that we can work on together. We can’t solve the whole mess, at least not all at once.  But we can tackle one small piece and then move on to the next piece.

In tackling the coronavirus, do we need to shut down everything, or quarantine everyone? Can we use a scalpel instead of a broad sword in combating disease and injustice?

How about in your business? Do you need more leads? Are your expenses too high? What is one definitive area or aspect of your problem that you can commit to tackling this month and implementing change?

Sometimes the situation or the opportunity calls for a broad, bold move for sweeping change. But most of the time, making several, consistent, localized small changes is the path that will lead you out of your rut and into your promised land.

So today, take some time to step back and be intentional in making some small decisions.  Start where you are.  Use what you have. Do what you can.

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