Friday, April 3, 2020

Lean Quote: Stop Worrying and Start Problem Solving With Six Steps

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.


"Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.  — Leo Buscaglia

Feeling worried and anxious? Find some comfort in knowing you're not alone and that these feelings are completely normal. Fear and panic relating to the coronavirus are spreading faster than the virus itself.

Worry is not productive. It’s not helping us problem solve. It’s not helping to motivate us.
And it’s pretty easy to tell the difference between worrying and problem solving. With problem solving, you find solutions. With worry, you just find more worries.

Today, I’m going to tell you the six steps you can take to start problem solving right now.

1.     Figure out a solvable problem. This can be harder than it sounds. First, you have to ask yourself “Is this really a problem?” So many times our problems are actually just worries in disguise. A solvable problem is one that you have control over, and that is happening right now. Solvable problem: I can’t pay both my phone bill and my car insurance. Unsolvable problem: The person I’m dating likes me less than I like them. In the solvable problem, you’re in control of what happens. In the unsolvable problem, you aren’t.

2.     Brainstorm solutions. Try to come up with at least ten. There are no bad ideas when brainstorming. It’s important to push yourself to come up with more than a few because that’s when you’re most likely to have a new idea. Something you haven’t thought of before.

3.     List the Pros and Cons. Pick your favorite two solutions and write out the pros and cons of each solution. Doing so will help you decide which solution to try first.

4.     Decide on a plan. Decide between your solutions. We recommend picking the one you can get started on right away, if possible. Then flesh out your plan. Who is involved? What will happen? When will it happen? Why are you doing it? Where will you do it? How will you do it?

5.     Do your plan. Hopefully you’ve picked something you can do right away.

6.     Evaluate it. How’d it go? Did it work? If not, reflect on why not and consider starting this process over again.

Uncertainty is a fact of life, so try to accept that you will always have to live with and tolerate some uncertainty. Unexpected things happen and accepting this in the longer term will make your life easier and reduce your anxieties.


Don’t be fooled into thinking that your worry will always be helpful. Worrying is normally a very inefficient attempt to problem-solve. So when you worry, try to turn this into useful problem solving by considering what you need to do now to deal with the problem.

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