Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: Problems

 

“Isn’t it wonderful; if you have a few problems, you have trouble, but if you have a whole lot of problems, they start solving each other.” – H. Beam Piper, Ministry of Disturbance

Problems? We all have problems today. Enough problems that this aphorism (which Piper used some variant of in several stories) begins to apply. If you have enough problems you can put them together to start solving themselves. It is a principle I have cheerfully, indeed ruthlessly, applied since my early teens when I first came across it in one of Piper’s sci-fi novels.

Let me use one recent example from my own life. On March 1, I was facing deadline problems. Then my favorite editor asked me to submit two new book proposals. Those had to be submitted before I turned in my current book – which I already lacked time to complete.

My success as a writer comes from following two principles: 1. Always complete every project on time and within word count. 2. Never say no when invited to write a new book when offered appropriate compensation.

I then had a new problem. I worked for an airline and on March 12 was let go. Talk about a big problem. Add in that a week later, Harris and Galveston Counties told everyone to stay home. I could not really do job hunting.

Here is where Piper’s Problem Principle kicks in. Problems 1 and 2 were solved by Problems 3 and 4. Losing the day job gave me the time I did not have to write the book proposals and finish the book. And it looks like I cannot do much else (like job hunting.) Having run the numbers, I discovered if I get the book done by the end of April (the proposals are completed) my income will equal what I would have gotten from the day job through then. Throw in a whopping tax refund and I have enough money to make it through the end of May if I spend like a drunken sailor and through the end of June if I watch my money.

Of course, if I do not get a new job by the end of June that will be a new problem. Hopefully another problem will come along by then, so I can do the mutual problem annihilation trick one more time. Always has so far.

Got problems? See if you can start getting them to solve each other.

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  1. The Reticulator Member

    If I die from COVID-19 that would be a problem for me, but it would solve a lot of others.

    • #1
    • April 4, 2020, at 8:00 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  2. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    If I die from COVID-19 that would be a problem for me, but it would solve a lot of others.

    When you are dead, you do not know that you are dead. It is only a problem for those around you. Sadly, it is the same way when you are stupid. 

    • #2
    • April 4, 2020, at 8:04 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  3. aardo vozz Member

    If the book proposals come through, you could be getting more money for June. For now, I’d watch the money.🙂

    • #3
    • April 4, 2020, at 8:19 AM PDT
    • Like
    • This comment has been edited.
  4. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter

    aardo vozz (View Comment):

    If the book proposals come through, you could be getting more money for June. For now, I’d watch the money.🙂

    I have factored in the advances. If it is an invited proposal, it almost always is approved.

    I am actually planning my finances as if I won’t find work until September.

    • #4
    • April 4, 2020, at 8:50 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. Vectorman Thatcher

    Seawriter: If you have enough problems you can put them together to start solving themselves.

    A corollary is “if you need to get a job done, give it to a busy man.”


    Join other Ricochet members by submitting a Quote of the Day post, the easiest way to start a fun conversation. There are many open days on the April Signup Sheet. We even include tips for finding great quotes, so choose your favorite quote and sign up today!

    • #5
    • April 4, 2020, at 8:50 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  6. Rapporteur Coolidge

    Reminds me of the guy who comes home from his stressful job, but before entering the house, he “hooks” his problems on a tree branch near the front door. That serves as a physical reminder not to bring the stressors of the day job into the home environment.

    Strangely enough, when he leaves for work the next morning, there aren’t as many problems on the tree branch as there were the night before. Thus it is with you as well, @Seawriter.

    • #6
    • April 4, 2020, at 10:19 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. The Reticulator Member

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    If I die from COVID-19 that would be a problem for me, but it would solve a lot of others.

    When you are dead, you do not know that you are dead. It is only a problem for those around you. Sadly, it is the same way when you are stupid.

    If I don’t know about a problem, that doesn’t mean there is no problem.

    • #7
    • April 4, 2020, at 11:04 AM PDT
    • Like
  8. Saint Augustine Member

    Coronavirus may have solved the problem of people telling us to stop using plastics.

    • #8
    • April 4, 2020, at 5:16 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  9. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Coronavirus may have solved the problem of people telling us to stop using plastics.

    For a while.

    • #9
    • April 4, 2020, at 5:47 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. Arahant Member

    I was on hiatus when you posted this. In some ways, Trump has been a Ministry of Disturbance.

    • #10
    • April 28, 2020, at 10:22 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter

    Arahant (View Comment):

    I was on hiatus when you posted this. In some ways, Trump has been a Ministry of Disturbance.

    True.

    • #11
    • April 28, 2020, at 10:23 AM PDT
    • 1 like