It’s easy for us to get caught up trying to constantly deal with the deluge of problems we face day-to-day, putting out each fire as it arises.

There are times where that “always on” mode of dealing with problems is indeed necessary.

But it seems to me that the problems we face day-to-day are many times the direct results of different up-stream problems that we don’t always recognize.

These are problems that cause other problems. You could call them “meta-problems”.

It can be really helpful to zoom out from our “putting out fires” mode of dealing with those problems in front of us, and instead ask the question, “What is the problem that caused this problem in the first place?”

Often, if you can find and solve the meta-problem (by putting in better systems, connecting people directly instead of being a middle-man, leading upwards, cultivating new habits and cultures to supersede those that were problem-causing, etc.), the fires that we’ve spent so much time dealing with actually can end up putting themselves out.

… or at least they can reframe themselves to be more easily managed.