A Change in Perspective

In my short time dedicated to learning about wicked problem solving, I have found my mind to begin opening to the realities of unsustainable ways of living in our society. While recognizing the state of the present and the negative impact our choices have on the future was scary at times, through defining our problems as wicked and multifaceted, I somehow felt comforted.
Our culture today rests in wicked problems. Whether we recognize the problems as unsolvable or not, the problems still exist and impact our day-to-day lives. These problems have no clear starting point and no simple fix to the large problem. For example, climate change is a problem we all see the effects of, but there is no direct pinpointed start to the issue. The problems of our heated planet exist due to many small actions compiled to create a large wicked problem that is hard to correct. While laws can be implemented to correct some of the harm done, the resistance of people to change their ways, the large systems in place using nonreusable resources, and established ways of living make change virtually impossible. The example of climate change and its effects is only one example of preexisting wicked problems in our society. Although only one simple example, recognizing this problem as wicked with no easily identified beginning or end, allows for a sense of peace in my mind. Knowing the weight of the massive problem is not resting on a single decision, or dependent upon one change people are unwilling to make opens the door to freedom in finding innovative ways to save the future of our planet. While identifying a problem as wicked is not fun or easy for a person, through recognizing our limits in solving issues larger than ourselves, creative thinkers are free to solve parts of the wicked problem innovatively and uniquely. Emotionally speaking, I find wicked problems to be taxing and difficult to think about. As a person who likes easily recognizable problems and working to find specific problems, recognizing a lessening the impacts of wicked problems is difficult for my brain to wrap around. Throughout the semester, however, I found myself having fun thinking with an open mind to discover the gravity of our actions in the past, how they affect the present, and the wicked problems we face today, in addition to how our actions today will affect the lives of the children to come in the future.
As a person who is experiencing the negative effects of the selfish actions of those in the generation before my own, I find it hard to be compassionate regarding wicked problems at times. While easy to think with empathy in regards to Easter Island as I have no experience with living on a deserted island and building a colony from the ground up, facing an issue such as climate change force me to look at the actions of others that directly effect me and act with compassion and mercy. Choosing to move forward with a compassionate mindset is important as I must choose to act in the way I hope the next generation will. I, and my generation, will and have no undoubtedly made mistakes that will impact the world for the rest of time, take the fast fashion and nonsustainable fashion for example, and I can only hope that my children will act in mercy as they work to fix the problems we created for them accidentally out of ignorance. Before learning about the direct impact of wicked problems in our society today, I would consistently act in anger and confusion as I looked at the issues my generation is faced with today. However, realizing my generation has not only made these initial problems worse and additionally created more issues for the next group of young adults to work and solve through creative innovation. As I gained knowledge throughout the semester in the areas of definitions and realities of wicked problems from both the past and present, however, I found my perspective to begin changing. I began to recognize my bias towards the accidental or even purposeful actions taken that result in negative reactions. I realized, my negative opinions of others were only making solving the existing wicked problems more difficult for myself and others. Through working to open my mind to compassion and choosing to work to identify issues as choices and not direct attacks made by previous generations, I noticed my anger and confusion began to dissipate. Now, looking back on myself at the beginning of the semester I see the immense amount of growth I have experienced. While at the start of the semester I ultimately moved in judgment and bias, now I look to observe problems nonbiased and without judging the people who have made the problem worse. This change in mindset has allowed me to think of real solutions to problems, and connect with the people who will help positively impact the future.
As I look to practically include all I have learned about wicked problems this semester, I see a need to make my friends and family in my circle of influence informed and aware of the gravity of our current situation. Through having a willingness to learn and grow alongside those around me, a sense of community is fostered and therefore creates a sense of joined effort to impact the future we all will inevitably live in. As I look to discuss the reality of the world we live in, the effects of choices from those before our time, and the effects of the choices we make as a collective society today, I hope to use the sense of compassion in union with my gained knowledge to not only understand the actions of myself and those around me but to find practical solutions to the problems we will face moving forward for the rest of time. By choosing to combine all I have learned and sharing my newfound knowledge with those around me, I will aid in getting people to want to help make the change and therefore make overall changes in society a bit of a smoother transition due to strength in numbers.
Overall, my time learning about wicked problems has given me insight, allowed me to change perspective, recognize the importance of innovative thinking, and have a want to learn and grow alongside all those around me. While recognizing and solving wicked problems is no easy feat and has not an easily identifiable switch to change, I now see the importance of working alongside my peers and community to better the world we live in today, and positively impact the world future generations will live in the years the come. As a creative thinker who is still continually working to open my mind to the possibilities of solutions to wicked problems I see today, I now realize I should not carry the weight of pressure to find one succinct solution to the problem because there are no clear solutions to the problems our society has created and will create for ourselves. Although I may not be able to solve the entire problem, through working with those around me, I know that we can make small changes that will positively impact our experience in the world our wicked problems have created.

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