The change of seasons and my class on change caused two thoughts to collide in my mind: the parallels between sniffles and adaptive change. Let me explain!

Adaptive change occurs when the answer is unknown, as is the case with complex problems or systems challenges. (Contrast this with technical change where the solution is known.) In cases where an adaptive solution is required, it causes discomfort so people often try to resolve the issue with a technical solution instead. It may work in the short term, but the issue never goes away.

I thought about this when I had a runny nose. A technical solution is to inhale — it cures the problem for the moment, but it does nothing for the underlying cause (adaptive). Sure enough, my problem reoccurs after a few minutes and I am no better off than I was in the beginning.

Are you trying to resolve your problem by sniffling instead of figuring out your allergy, seeking a new environment, or assessing the reason for your runniness? That constant drip in your snout is akin to the perpetual lingering of your problem unless you press through the uncomfortable to resolve the root cause of what ails you.

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