When you have a problem, you can find a fix or create a solution.

The simplest example is this:

person drinking coffee

If only there were a better way…

My mug leaves a coffee stain on the table. I wipe the ring with a napkin and continue to drink my coffee. Drink, stain, wipe, repeat.

Instead, I could just wipe the freakin’ mug.

We often start fixing so quickly that we don’t even take a minute to evaluate the problem, thinking short term without considering the long term.

Now, how do we spot this in real-time?

How to Spot A Fix

Once you start looking, spotting the difference between a fix and a solution is like looking for a quiz on Buzzfeed. Fun, but surface level.

A fix will:

  • Be repeated (like my coffee stain)
  • Likely be a first response (wiping immediately)
  • Cause new problems (I’m running out of napkins!)

How to Avoid Fixes and Start Creating Solutions

Fixes and solutions require problems (duh, I hear you saying). So we need to back up and look at how we identify problems in the first place.

If you keep coming back to the same issue, ask yourself: what is the real problem here? Is my response addressing that problem? Could there be a better way?

More complex problems require more investigation, deeper thought, and tailored solutions. We can handle that, but only if we identify the true problem and know we need to dive deeper.

While I love the self-righteous delight of spotting a fix, that’s in many ways just a fix itself (so meta, I know). We have to push further. Real problems, after all, require real solutions.

To being better without having even close to 99 problems,