Problem Finders


It’s been a while. About a month, I think.

While I started this year off with quite the whirlwind of words falling out of my mouth like froth from a cyanide infused man, I puttered out. It slowed to a crawl, then eventually – much like grifters – I vanished completely.

To be frank, I basically had to take a break. My cognitive capacity was maxed out for the first four months of this year, and when you’re teaching a language while simultaneously pumping out psychologically and philosophically interesting articles about the shittiness of social media, your brain will eventually give out and you will become a vegetable.

In my case, I became a gaming vegetable and musical practitioner. I also went on a 3 day trip for my 33rd birthday to visit ancient castles in Japan, and was delighted to see all the historical artifacts there – ranging from masterwork katanas, armour sets worn by dead lords, ukiyo-e art work and even carpentry techniques. I have tons of photos, the featured image being one.

It was good and refreshing, and with that some cognitive energy has come back, giving me the ability to write about things.

Todays thing is about problem finders. Yes, finders, not solvers, and I don’t mean it in a “good way”.

What the hell is a problem finder?

Well, let’s think about solvers first. Everyone solves problems, ranging from the meagre to the epic sized one. You might have the problem of “hunger”, so you solve that problem by getting some food. Some basic, Maslow’s low level need shit.

Then it goes up into higher tiers, like shelter, productivity, relationships, spiritual fulfilment, etc. It compounds exponentially in all areas – maybe you want a better job and need to develop new skills, or maybe you want a specific kind of shelter or relationship – all the things we do are problems we solve.

This is why I don’t ascribe to the notion that problems are a bad thing. There are such things as bad problems, and that’s the correct way to think about it – apply a descriptor to the noun, don’t package the noun as bad by default – that’s for hack frauds.

Problems are a part of life, and problems make us tick. If you have no problems, you have a boring life – and while colloquially having no problems basically means that life is good, what I mean is if you literally have zero problems to solve, you’re basically a corpse. No life, no problem.

Problems aren’t bad, but there are bad problems. I’m going in circles now – a symptom of my impending insanity.

Anyway, I’m not talking about problem solvers. Everyone is a solver – I’m talking about finders. What’s a problem finder?

Well, I’m sure everyone has met someone in their life who seems to be very good at finding problems, no matter how big or small, in any situation or context. You know, the kind of person who you go out with and talk to, only for them to find something to critique. That’s a problem finder, and I do not like them.

Now, let me get something straight: finding things to improve upon is a useful skill to have – I’m fairly good at this within my career of language teaching. I isolate problem areas in people’s English usage and help them economize it so it’s logical, smooth and sexy sounding. That’s good problem finding and solving. It’s a productive use of looking for things to fix. Purposeful fixing. English become gooder.

But a “problem finder” how I call it, is someone who incessantly looks for problems in almost everything they do and hear, especially in the social realm. It’s the guy who you talk to about something positive, only for them to bounce off it and find an issue in the positive event. Or the girl who gets a promotion, but finds a problem in the promotion because “omg there’s always a problem ugh”.

It’s people who look only for the issues and are incapable of trying to find the good or just celebrating what is. Nitpickers, whiners, annoying people, depressed YouTube philosophers – we have many names for them, and while I can respect someone who can find things to improve, there has to be a balancing act with it all, and a self-reflective asking of the question “Is there a problem here worth considering?” is a useful way of quelling that annoying chipmunk retard flailing about in the brain.

A lot of these kinds of people hide under the guise of “self improvement” too, which is probably the most pernicious term around nowadays, because good god there’s always something to improve and always something to fucking grift.

  • Chiseled 6 foot man? Well, do better – become a chiseled 7 FOOT MAN.
  • Found a nice girl? Well, you can do better – she isn’t at least one standard deviation in IQ above other women.
  • Got a promotion? Great, but do better – eat your fucking manager and buy a god damned mansion.

Extreme exaggeration aside, the point is that no matter what you do, you’ll never be good enough if you’re always finding problems. Reality is you’re never going to be good enough, period. There’s no such thing as “good enough”, but there’s no such thing as “perfection”, either.

There’s just goal setting, improvement and figuring your shit out as you get old. What do you want? Okay go get that. How was it? Bad? Cool try something else. Made a mistake? Ok, accept that you made a booboo – learn from it and go try something else.

Congratulations, you’ve figured out how life works. It’s a process of owning your shit, trying things out, seeing how it goes, and then configuring it as you get older. That’s basically it – you’re solving the problems in your life and finding ways to optimize the solutions by minimizing the problems in them.

This is both finding and solving problems, together, in unison. Now if someone comes along and tells you “Hey great but are you sure this is good enough? What about x, y, z? Huh? You fuck?”, you give em the finger and live on your own terms. That’s a problem finder, and if you’re not finding any problems that need serious addressing i.e. you are smoking meth without taking necessary safety precautions, then hey, no problem.

Don’t smoke meth, but you get my point and I won’t tell you what to do.

Solve your problems, find things to optimize, enjoy life. People who are always looking for problems are the people you avoid, especially when they’re breathing down the back of your neck with sweaty, egg smelling breaths, trying to figure your life out for you. Get rid of em.

Ok bye.



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