Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

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Effective Ownership

Over the years Beth, the smart one in our couple, has emphasized a couple of really basic philosophical pillars upon which she’s built her life and taught her offspring and “extras”. In the midst of conflict or upset of any kind the first thing she counsels is to determine “who owns the problem”. Of course the follow-up is obvious: if the answer to that question isn’t “you” then let it pass. In general the more people who claim ownership of a problem the larger that problem becomes.

Lovely Daughter Megan also has some thoughts about ownership, and hers applies when a problem really is yours: “own your own shit.” If it’s yours step up, claim ownership, and fix it. Straightforward and direct, my Lovely Daughter. Don’t look for someone to take the blame, or someone to lay off responsibility. Own it and make it right. The sooner the actual owner of a problem does so the smaller that problem remains.

Both of my girls are much more empathetic than this makes them seem. They are kind women, merciful and caring. Each one is known for their habit of saving all manner of creatures in need, including people. There are limits, though, and each acknowledges this in their approaches to problems. If you don’t own a problem you may be most helpful by not claiming it by trying to fix it. On the other hand, if it is actually yours, claim it and get about the business of solving it.

Let’s call it “effective ownership”.

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