DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Improvise; the latest quick fix!

Written by: on October 5, 2020

It’s a quiet rainy Sunday morning. It has been a full and busy weekend so far. With the help of my son and son-in-law Saturday was a day of home repairs that were long overdue. This morning with coffee in hand I looked out over the deck at a cedar fence that needs repairs. Just another project on a long list of projects. I noticed the dark green metal t-posts I installed to hold up that section of the fence as a temporary repair. My intent was to do the repairs over a year ago. Where had the time gone? Looking at it now, it doesn’t seem all that important considering the complexity of todays world. Though it needs to be done it isn’t on the top of my priority list. I don’t believe anyone could have predicted the many changes that have taken place this past year.

Steven D’Souza and Diana Renner in their book Not Knowing discuss the findings of a survey done by Hans Rosling on population growth. The study revealed the we often rely on outdated ideas. “As the world is changing so rapidly, we increasingly find ourselves in situations where we know, or what we thought we knew is no longer correct.”[1] Of course, none of us has a crystal ball. Even if we could keep up with the changes and have the latest data at our fingertips can we honestly say we understand the complexity of the challenges we are currently facing. According to D’Souza and Renner “knowing the final destination is a fallacy.”[2] They go onto explain that the more complex the situation the harder it is to truly understand the possible variables and the unforeseen outcomes. They equate it to “having a map to a largely unknown territory is as useful as having no map at all.”[3]

I never intended my temporary repair to be a permanent fix. Temporary repairs may very well be part of a quick fix mindset.  “While it’s natural for a person to seek a quick fix every now and then, many of us are utilizing quick fixes before ever really considering alternatives. This kind of mindset is being referred to as quick-fix syndrome.”[4] According to D’Souza and Renner when we enter into the quick fix mentality our brains default back to old habits. The problem with quick fixes is they don’t bring a long-term result and they don’t allow for deep engagement with the issues at hand. [5]

In an age of actual time, microwaves, instant everything, fake news, and wanting things our way like the old Burger King commercial recommended the desire for fast simple fixes are part of everyday life. If a quick fix mentality causes us to default to old thinking habits how can we navigate the complexities of an ever-changing life? If we truly need long term lasting results, how can we slow down long enough to engage things at the depth that is needed to come up with a long-term plan? I am often times reminded of Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”  Can fear and anxiety be the bi-product of living a life of insanity? How does doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different result drive us into a quick fix mentality? May be we should improvise, it seems like everyone else is!

 

                  [1] Steven D’Souza and Diana Renner, Not Knowing: The Art of Turning Uncertainty into Opportunity, (London, LID Publishing,2016), 84

[2] Steven D’Souza and Diana Renner, 86

                  [3] Steven D’Souza and Diana Renner, 86

                  [4] https://www.foundationsrecoverynetwork.com/how-has-the-quick-fix-mentality-made-us-vulnerable-to-addiction/#:~:text=While%20it’s%20natural%20for%20a,to%20as%20quick%2Dfix%20syndrome.

                  [5] Steven D’Souza and Diana Renner, 93-4

About the Author

mm

Greg Reich

Entrepreneur, Visiting Adjunct Professor, Arm Chair Theologian, Leadership/Life Coach, married 39 years, father and grandfather. Jesus follower, part time preacher! Handy man, wood carver, carpenter and master of none. Outdoor enthusiast, fly fisherman, hunter and all around gun nut.

9 responses to “Improvise; the latest quick fix!”

  1. mm Dylan Branson says:

    Greg, I was wondering whether or not fear is the reason we seek quick fixes. We don’t want to engage the hard work of seeking more permanent solutions at times. Is that because we’re afraid to fail?

    Or maybe it’s because we think the quick fixes ARE the way of solving the problems we face. We live and strive for efficiency and anything that will make our lives easier. Putting a bandaid over the problem is a simple solution. At times it does provide the proper healing we need, but when we face things on a deeper level all it does is allow infection to creep in.

  2. mm Greg Reich says:

    Dylan,

    The best example of the quick fix mentality that haunts us in America is addictions. There are a number of sources on line that show the tremendous rise of addictions from drugs to porn since the beginning of Covid-19. If quick fixes default us to old think ing patterns the ramifications of Covid are far more than physical.

  3. mm Darcy Hansen says:

    Greg and Dylan,
    I’m going to pop in on your dialogue here- the link between quick fixes and addictions is interesting. I wonder if it’s a fear of feeling rather than failing that drives the behaviors? Often times we are taught to pick ourselves up by our bootstraps and keep muscling along in life, duct taping things together along the way (MacGuyver-ing it, as we like to say in the Hansen home). After awhile that mentality becomes exhausing. Being present in the uncomfortable feelings that come from not knowing or not being able to do the thing we want to do is very hard. So we numb ourselves. Perseverance is tough. Even now, many, including myself, are so done with this pandemic. Sad thing is we can’t fix it alone. It requires help from others. Maybe that’s part of combating the quick fix mentality? Engaging in community, seeking help from others, and extending help when needed? Seems that working together helps move from the quick fix to a more permanent fix, or at least a fix that is more sustainable.

    • mm Greg Reich says:

      Darcy,
      Thanks for jumping in. I think you are on to something with your comment on community. One of the tools I have used personally and in coaching is a thing called the FASTER scale. It was designed for those with addictions and those seeking emotional health. It asks a serious of questions about the emotional well being of an individual. FASTER is an acronym: F= Forgetting Priorities. A= anxiety, S=speeding up, T= ticked off, E= exhausted, R= relapse. This tool helps the individual track the downward progression toward relapse and helps them make choices to get of the scale and back into a healthy emotional place. I have found the best place for me is in a community with others seeking emotionally healthy living and a willingness to avoid isolation. Isolation is the enemy for those seeking wholeness. This pandemic has made this quite challenging for many including myself. As much as we pretend that we can face life alone and on our own terms we can’t.

  4. mm Shawn Cramer says:

    Greg, I like the improvise metaphor (no surprise), because improvisation is NOT doing whatever one wants, but is rooted in a mastery of the skill (comedy or music). There’s a sense of both wonder and rigor (Seth Godin).

  5. mm John McLarty says:

    Over the past several months, as my church has tried to adjust to life and ministry with Covid, it seems like all we’ve done is come up with one temporary fix after another. We’ve even been proud to declare, “this probably is not how it will always be- but it’s how it will be for now.” It’s been liberating in many ways for in this very established setting. But your post is a great reminder that we must also keep an eye on the bigger picture and make sure that our quick fixes don’t end up setting up obstacles for the real changes that still must be made.

  6. mm Jer Swigart says:

    Your post brough me to the idea of “fuzzy goals” that we explored in anticipation of our recent advance. The idea that we are moving in a direction, yet to pre-determine the end-point might short-change the process & potential solutions that could emerge. While fuzzy goals and quick fixes aren’t the same thing…I do wonder what portals to new possiblities “quick fixes” open up for us. I suppose it also takes eyes to see that the quick fix is a portal and not a solution?

    • mm Greg Reich says:

      Jer,
      The “quick-fix mentality” is often correlated with addictions. People have a desire to relieve pain as quick as possible without realizing the pain is a symptom of a deeper problem. Edwin Friedman sees quick fixes as escapist mindset when people think problems can be solved in a linear way. (92) He states it is the opposite side of displacement. In many cases both in our own lives and within society pain is not the real issue. Pain is a reality of life and sadly part of human interaction. The true issue is how we choose to deal with the pain. Avoidance, blaming and quick fixes in many aspects of society prohibit real growth and maturity. The US has a long history of quick fixes that mask the symptoms but don’t solve the problems. Do you think this is partly due to the fact that those in power and privilege often don’t have to live with the ramifications of their choices?

  7. mm Chris Pollock says:

    A long-term set-up or way of going about a ‘new’ thing, inhibiting this do you think might be the ‘extra’ amount of communication or information that is needed?

    The bit more than what a ‘quick-fix’ needs is not worth it the effort. Relationships end for the realisation perhaps, that for longevity (something lasting), something a bit more is required.

    So, what of the real thing, the potential there is for more, something lasting? Consumerism (it’s current expression, reliant on the quick-fix) would never last if there was a shift from the quick-fix.

    I have felt commodified; aspect of another’s capital. It’s just not a good feeling and the situation did not last.

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