It’s not a problem unless you have a solution

I remember watching Up in the air and there was one quote that stuck – “It’s not a problem unless you have a solution”. The new employee pointed out that the current system has a problem. The boss then said that unless she has a solution, it is not a problem. And implicitly, the current course of action is probably the best unless you have a solution.

Personally, this struck a chord in me because it describes my modus operandi in social situation. Although there are many times I feel that things could be better, I do nothing because I don’t have a solution to effect the change required.

However, this philosophy goes awry when it is adopted to some hard sciences.

A friend once commented that if a problem is not really a problem unless someone has a solution, then many inventions would not have come about. We’re working on an assumption here. Problem -> complaint -> solution by someone else. Sometimes we do not have the authority, but the solution doesn’t have to be something executable by the suggester. It can be a suggestion for someone else to work on. For example, when someone complaints about the restaurant, he does not expect to tell the chef how to cook. When a child complains that he is hungry or cold, we do not expect the child to give suggestions on how to solve the problem because we think that the child may not possess the know-how and we as caretakers would know better.

In certain domain this philosophy is advised.

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