Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

Strangers in a Strange Land and Problems at Home

'talk to the people who have the problem – and LISTEN to what they have to say' (Paul Polak)

I'm probably not the first to admit it, nor am I certainly going to be the last; but I know so little about the world's cultures and the people who live and work within them. Sometimes I even feel I know more about dealing with 'people' on the internet more than I do with my local suburban community. With this in mind how can I even consider taking the steps to make a difference in the world, especially when I don't like stepping on people's toes; not to mention my little streak of arrogance/pride and perhaps fear that keeps me from asking for help in new situations. In realizing this weakness however, I can find strength.

Though the problem is hardly unique to myself, there are some who don't always realize that they don't know what the best approach to any given situation is before jumping in and trying their own 'solution'. This can be something as simple as arguments between family members to something as complex as inter-cultural relations. How can anyone solve a problem without actually knowing why it needs to be solved from the perspective of the one with the issue? Sometimes someone will even apply their 'fix' without asking around to see if it actually makes a difference, and that can be just as bad. In our modern era of communication, there are very few excuses to not develop an understanding of those who may be affected by one's solutions.

Of course this also means one needs to identify the individual or group who has the problem, but all that takes is a little information gathering and some patience, in particular when it feels like the problem is yours when it may not be. In those cases, my advice is to speak to a (preferably trusted) neutral party about it before acting on emotional responses.

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Comment by Thomas Carlisle on March 25, 2010 at 4:51am
Very interesting. My own weakness in the matter, and I am sure I am not alone in this, is a tendency not to act. I will consider an problem, analyze if from many different angles, but for whatever reason I often cannot bring myself to act on it. It may be fear, apathy, or cynical apprehension, but this failure does happen. In the end it is not the actions of bad people that perpetuates problems, but rather the inaction of good people.


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