Wicked problems don’t have easy solutions and they also won’t just go away. How we view these problems is what changes the world. Over the course of my fall semester in college this year, I’ve been working on a goal to become more compassionate to these problems. In the past I would have argued that these problems have solutions and that I’m right. I have found that I still have a lot to learn and that not everyone will agree with me.
Intellectually, I have changed my viewpoint on how I think wicked problems work. We all think it will be an easy fix but it is not. These problems aren’t as easy as never using paper or buying fewer clothes. While we talk about these fixes, the likelihood that I would be able to completely do work on a computer and not want to buy more clothes is just not feasible. On the other hand, I can be more aware of when I use paper and the amount of clothes I buy. I can also donate clothes when I’m done with them instead of throwing them away.
Another thing I’ve been working on is how I approach these problems emotionally. Through meditation I have been able to change my mindset. I view problems and how they relate to me, see if there is a solution, then let the thought go. This way I limit my time and energy to action instead of stressing about a problem with no simple solution. Mindfulness also keeps me in the present moment of what is happening now instead of worrying about the future. When we change our mindset it can also change how our body reacts to stress.
When my mind is relaxed my body seems to relax as well. I also enjoy exercising as a form of meditation because it helps clear my mind and gives me a boost of energy. This relaxes my body while helping me stay active. I tend to use my time walking to class as a way to prepare my mindset for learning. Learning for me includes taking suggestions on my work, accepting I’m wrong, and asking for help. If I’m not in the right mindset both my mind and body tend to tense up, get overwhelmed, and become mad. I have now learned to change my mindset and be curious about what viewpoint others might have.
I have found that I want things to have a quick fix with little to no effort. We wish we could snap our fingers and everything would be done and the world would be perfect.
It would be nice, but that is not how the world works. Things take work, a lot of work. I have to be willing to put in the effort to make a good grade, or turn in a project at work. Another thing we struggle with and I’m as guilty as anyone is that we want the quick fix or fast answer. I tend to rush on homework to do things that are more relaxing like watching tv. In the long run, the quick fix won’t last. When it comes to school if I rush through my homework it is because I didn’t put in all my effort. This makes me feel bad about rushing but also affects my grade. Problems take time and effort to solve or improve. There is no rushing them.
To improve our world we have to change our perspective. I have found that believing I have all the answers only hurts me. It limits my ability to learn and try new things. College has made me more humble towards others by showing me there are still things to learn. Since starting I have tried new food and activities. If I had not changed my perspective I would never have experienced some pretty amazing things. I have also found that being humble is being considerate of someone else’s viewpoint. This summer I tried a ride at SeaWorld called the Journey to Atlantis. I rode it once and did not like it, but my brother loved it. I was considerate of his feelings. I said it was not a bad ride but I would not ride it again. In return, he was considerate of my feelings and did not make me ride it anymore. Life is about compromising and understanding that everyone is different. We have different tastes in food, clothing, how we live, and who we hang out with. We just need to work together to live in harmony.
My view on wicked problems has changed this semester. I have been working on becoming more humble and compassionate towards these issues. During class discussions I listen and talk to my classmates about different topics. I try to understand their perspective and humble myself. I have found that wicked problems don’t have a single solution so even if I don’t agree with someone it does not mean either of us is wrong. I have also been working on being considerate during the discussion. I try to recognize that others may have more insight than me on specific issues. They may have personal experience or be more familiar with a topic.
I have made great strides this semester, but still have a lot to learn. I am finding that culture shapes our norm and changing our norm takes hard work. You have to be willing to relearn the things you feel you already know and be prepared for people to give you suggestions about what they think is the solution. As far as wicked problems go they won’t ever go away because of their complexity and the time it would take. Instead we need to look at how we view these problems and how we can help to make them even the least bit better. I choose to look on the bright side. I see people everyday trying to make a difference and even if we fail, our perspective is what changes the world.