Why we suck at solving big problems?
We still that animal that just thinks to make a living — survive. That’s why we suck at solving climate change, sexism, racism, and so on. But we can do something.
COVID-19 is terrific. But the thing happening during the pandemic is quite interesting. It’s like a documentary for me that once again reminds me; humans react to instant problems.
We call ourselves modern species. But we still that animal which gathers in a group of hunters and was treated by other big animals.
The survival mode
The number one priority for us is survival.
When we see a big bear, for sake of survival we take immediate action.
This happens in the COVID situation. It’s a hit — yeah a big bear! — and that’s why the people care about it and take flashy actions.
We shut down businesses and lock down cities. Startups and big companies are in a race to develop a silver-bullet for this crisis.
Instant problems, vs future problems
The COVID-19 isn’t our only problem.
Take air pollution for example. According to WHO:
4.6 million people die each year from causes directly attributable to air pollution. Many of these mortalities are attributable to indoor air pollution.
So, one question, why we don’t make any bold and instant action to solve it?
The answer is simple.
Because it’s happening in a process. Slowly poisoning and then killing us. That’s why we don’t give a damn about it. It’s really not in our DNA.
This case true for climate change, social problems like sexism and racism.
In fact, racism costs about $16 Trillion U.S alone. That’s a big issue. But because it’s happening in a slow and long process, we don’t care about it.
Even we are “modern”, we stuck in survival mode.
I living in a developing country. Many people just think about survival. Not transformation.
For solving big problems we need to reach balance in our minds. Also, be aware of instant problems and also taking action toward solving future problems.
Use the opportunity of being alive as a human
I deeply believe it’s a waste of life — this super rare thing in the multi-verse — if we just focus on survival.
An animal that only goes to school, gets a degree to find a 9–5 job, doing the same boring task for making money, spread the gene, and survive.
We could so much more than that.
Thanks to neuroplasticity, we aren’t completely relying on our DNA.
We can do something to level up ourselves.
Go from survival mode to transformation mode
We must cultivate a long-term mindset in our society.
We can learn anything. And we can learn how to have a long-term mindset. How to go to transformation mode.
Stick to your why
Start with having a purpose and stick to it.
People strive to find “a job” and make a living. It’s the worst thing you can do with your life. It’s learning how to just survive.
Choosing a purpose can be hard, painful, and maybe sometimes like torture.
But It gives a sense of fulfillment that cultivate the long-term attitude.
The hard truth is all of us are narcissistic. We just need specific circumstances to be selfish.
Accepting this part of yourself is helping you notice it when arise. Think beyond your comfort.
If we didn’t so much selfish, we haven’t many big problems that the world facing right now.
Use the reward system
Creating instant pleasure for yourself is a powerful strategy to be a long-term player.
When you doing a task that may not seem very valuable in the short-term, reward yourself after that finish it.
For example, if you want to learn Portuguese and in the next 5 years, you want to move to Portugal. You could after 30 minutes of practice, scrolling social media, or watching cats video on YouTube for 10 minutes.
This strategy also applies to sustainable development goals. We must reward ourselves after taking one tiny step.
Solve future problems with a long-term mindset
We love to get shit done. We want to solve big problems quickly and do bold moves.
It’s not how big problems solved. Why do many cleantech companies fail? Because they want to disrupt a huge area and break things fast.
But the process of solving a big problem is slow. You must move one step at a time. Slowly go toward your goals.
The problem with climate change is not a technological one, nor sexism or racism.
The problem is ourselves. We must change. The human civilization must go from survival mode to transformation mode. Our mindset must be long-term.
Then we can collaborate, adapt, and go further.