When The Obvious, Isn't Obvious…


Simplify, simplify… These are the watch words of our world today. The more complex our society has become the more is written on the benefits of simplification.

And, I have begun to wonder if the complexity of our society is also leading us to forget to look for simple solutions when things aren’t working right. The obvious sometimes is missed, along the way to finding a solution.

The following experience happened awhile back and I often use it as a reminder to pause and look first for the obvious, even when it may not at first seem so obvious.

My internet service was continually cutting out. It would go down for a few minutes, sometimes an hour or so, and would always come back on its own. This went on for many months. I called for service repeatedly, the provider sent technicians out repeatedly. They replaced modems, they replaced wires, they really tried to fix it. I became convinced the problem must be with the wiring in the building so I hired an independent company who came out and checked the internal wiring. Everyone who was here, and there were lots of people, all said it should be working. But it wasn’t.  

Finally I called a technician who had been out for another issue in the past. I had saved his name because he was particularly helpful. I told him the whole story and he sent his supervisor out. The supervisor asked a few questions, listened to my story and then solved the problem in 5 minutes.  

How did he do it?

This sounds like one of those brain teasers doesn’t it? Actually, I guess it was. What he did was simple. He asked a few questions, he really listened to my answers, and then looked for the obvious. There was a loose wire where the system was attached to the building. He tightened the wire, and I have not had a problem since!

My takeaway from this … when something isn’t working, in business or in life;

pause, ask questions, listen carefully to the answers….and then search first for the obvious explanation.