Wait For It

We all face problems, some mundane and commonplace, like email overwhelm. Others are momentous and consequential, such as a scary health diagnosis.

Andrea Morris

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image of a large house
Photo licensed by author from Adobe Stock

“…Once you know what pain point you’re trying to avoid and what benefits you’re trying to amplify, other approaches emerge.”

That observation, written by Cal Newport in A World Without Email, referred to the ways people and companies have chosen to combat relentless email overload. This essay isn’t about the email conundrum, however.

We all face problems, some mundane and commonplace, like email overwhelm. Others are momentous and consequential, such as a scary health diagnosis.

Regardless, our options to respond to any given problem span an entire spectrum. On one end, we can merely shrug our shoulders and accept that we can’t change our circumstances. On the other end, we can exhaustively hunt for the best solution. Somewhere in the middle lies Cal’s appealing response: sitting patiently with the simple, reassuring notion that “other approaches emerge.”

As a minimalist who attempts to choose her efforts wisely, the idea of patiently waiting for solutions to present themselves — as opposed to expending energy actively pursuing them — is very attractive.

I wondered, Where else does this notion apply?

1. Has a new approach to a problem ever found me, even though I had previously thought change wasn’t possible?

2. And the opposite: Are there places I’m stuck thinking there’s no other way?

I concluded that my house perfectly illustrates question #1. It’s a 2400-square-foot raised ranch in a wonderful, small-city neighborhood. I share it with my husband, Aaron, and son, Austin. It’s 50 years old and needed lots of TLC when we bought it four years ago.

After handing over our savings and pledging years of future paychecks to the house, we jumped in and did what we thought we were supposed to: We put elbow grease, our extra cash, and all our free time into slowly updating and repairing it. We did most of the work ourselves.

While updating the house, we also filled the rooms with comfy, low-quality furniture from…

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Andrea Morris

I’m Andrea Morris, a professional writer, helping individuals and small businesses share stories and do big things.