Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Irresolvables – Awareness & Acceptance

OH, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,

Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat;

But there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth,

When two strong men stand face to face, tho’ they come from the ends of the earth![1]

In short, on earth, at times, never the twain shall meet…

There was a situation for me recently that reminded me of the irresolvable nature of some problems and situations. It occurred in the professional setting with a rather complex incident reporting process. No matter what we did in seeking to improve this process it was clear from the outset that we’d never get close to making it perfect.

I have quoted before Morton C. Blackwell’s, “Don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good.” And that applies beautifully here. One of President Barack Obama’s supporters, former Senate majority leader Thomas A. Daschle, also coined it in reading him: “Those who accomplish the most are those who don’t make the perfect the enemy of the good,” he said, continuing, “Barack is a pragmatist. In that sense, he has a larger vision but oftentimes knows that we can’t get there with one legislative effort. When these occasions arise, he is willing to accept progress, even marginal gain, as a step toward that vision.”[2]

At times, the work required in the resolution of a problem far exceeds the available resources and time (and consequently often money), and therefore it’s not practicable--money underpins both resources and time a lot of the time, but not always. Simply the cost (a combination of resources, time and money) may not be worth the perceived benefit that’s sought to be gained.

Irresolvable issues also surface in key relationships including familial relationships with a parent, a child, or a spouse. With the plethora of issues that need resolving in relationships, we’ll always find some we just can’t come to a landing on, simply.

So, what are the options?

Sometimes the best option is to just accept the fact.

Some things in life are simply irresolvable, and the trick is to move on and not continue to re-visit the awkward situation. It takes a certain level of maturity for all parties to accept this new status quo… gee, at times simply our acceptance versus their non-acceptance may actually provoke the situation, making it worse. We can’t leave that situation as it is; that one needs some sort of resolution to at least the remote satisfaction of both/all parties wherever possible.

At acceptance, moving on requires a decision of the will (a commitment)--then the practical outworking of the commitment. We need to agree with ourselves that we won’t re-visit the issue or get frustrated about it. This definitely involves discipline.

Acceptance is a key step toward maturity in life, and not the least of which regarding conflict. Of course, having awareness of the specific irresolvable i.e. that the situation is proving hard/impossible to resolve, and the situation’s affect on us and other parties, is a very crucial, basic step of this wisdom.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
[1] First stanza of Rudyard Kipling’s “The Ballad of East and West” in Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908) A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. (1895).
[2] Source:

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